African champions Senegal cruised to a 4-0 victory over South Sudan as their bid to reach the 2026 FIFA World Cup opened in emphatic style on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia-based star Sadio Mane bagged a brace, with Pape Sarr and Lamine Camara also on target in the one-sided triumph. The Lions of Teranga wasted no time asserting control, taking the lead inside 60 seconds through Sarr’s composed finish. Mane then doubled the advantage in six minutes, emphatically firing home after Habib Diallo’s clever set-up play.
In the 29th minute, South Sudan were fortunate goalkeeper Majak Mawith only received a yellow for upending Mane when clean through. The Teranga Lions soon had a deserved third goal as Idrissa Gueye teed up Camara to smash home on the stroke of halftime.
Mane then converted a penalty on 57 minutes to put the result beyond any doubt at 4-0. The hosts should have added more goals against the overwhelmed South Sudanese. Mane and others were withdrawn once the points were sealed.
Senegal will face another qualifier against Togo on Tuesday, while South Sudan ‘host’ Mauritania in neutral Diamniadio. Meanwhile, the African qualifiers will continue on Sunday with five matches across the continent, headlined by heavyweights Algeria, Nigeria, and Egypt tackling Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone respectively.