Will Sadio Mane have made a difference?

This is probably the question on everyone’s minds including the Senegalese, whose star forward, Sadio Mane was denied a chance of leading from the front line in his country’s first game in Qatar through a last minute injury he sustained in Bayern Munich’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen.

Senegal, who won last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, flew to Qatar with high expectations but suffered a major blow last week when star Sadio Mane was ruled out for the World Cup with a leg injury, and his absence was notable considering the amount of wasted opportunities.

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Up until the Oranje, via PSV man Cody Gakpo, scored their first goal in the 84th minute, the Lions of Teranga were, from the 65th minute, a thorn in the flesh of their backline, however, they were unable to turn their dominance in the attacking phase into a lead. At different times, Andries Noppert, the Netherlands goalkeeper was called into action by Idrissa Gueye, and then from Ismaila Sarr.

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Although a pair of late goals from in form Gakpo and Davy Klaassen, helped Netherlands secure a 2-0 victory over their counterpart, Senegal in their 2022 World Cup opener, however, while the Netherlands boasted a slightly superior ball possession of 53% against Senegal’s 47%, Senegal had more shots on goal, having had 15 shots to Netherlands 10; and 4 shots on goal to Netherlands 3.

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