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Will Sadio Mane have made a difference?

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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.

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.

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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