Liverpool forward Sadio Mane scored a late penalty to hand Senegal a hard-fought 1-0 win over battling Zimbabwe on Monday evening.
Zimbabwe seemed to have held their own until in injury time when Zimbabwe defender Kelvin Madzongwe was adjudged to have handled a goal-bound shot in the box.
Mane stepped forward to send Zimbabwe goalkeeper Petros Mhari the wrong way.
Until that time, Mhari had denied Mane in the first half after the Liverpool man had sneaked past two defenders only for the keeper to block the effort from the striker.
Thereafter, Paris Saint-Germain’s Idrissa Gueye came close to scoring but the Zimbabwe keeper snatched the ball off his feet.
The first-half ended goalless with Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona’s long range speculative effort being the only contribution from the underdogs.
When play resumed, Senegal pressed on for the goal.
Senegal came knocking on Zimbabwe goal again but Pape Cisse sent his header over the bar.
However, the tournament favourites and the 2019 finalists found a way through the penalty which Madzongwe protested in vain.
Senegal XI : Seny Dieng – Ibrahima Mbaye, Abou Cissé, Abdou Diallo, Ballo-Touré – Kouyaté, Idrissa Gueye – Bouna Sarr, Sadio Mané, Keïta Baldé – Boulaye Dia.
Zimbabwe XI : Petros Mhari (GK) – John Gerald Takwara, Teenage Hadebe, Onismor Bhasera, Ishmael Wadi, Kelvin Madzongwe, Leroy Benyu, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Bruce Kangwa, Prince Dube, Knowledge Musona. (C)