2019 Africa Cup of Nations finalists Algeria and Senegal have joined hosts Cameroon in the next AFCON, set for January and February 2022, thanks to goals from two Premier League stars.
Algeria beat Senegal in the 2019 final, a second-minute goal from Baghdad Bounedjah standing up over 90 minutes.
We already showed you Man City star Riyad Mahrez’s wizardry in Algeria’s berth-clinching 2-2 draw in Zimbabwe (though we’ll show you again) but Sadio Mane’s knife through the box in Senegal’s 1-0 win over Burkina Faso was worthy of a look as well.
Liverpool star Mane, 28, scored his 20th Senegal goal on Sunday off a 1-2 with Habib Diallo and it sure was pretty.
Mane cuts a pass through two defenders to Diallo than darts toward the six to meet the return pass, bodying up a defender and lunging to poke a shot home for the game’s lone goal.
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Senegal 🇸🇳
— CAF (@CAF_Online) November 15, 2020
Mahrez, 29, took a huge cross out of the air with a magnificent heel flick, running onto the ball in the 18 while Zimbabwe’s Adam Chicksen (Notts County) turned with him.
The 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe in Harare clinched the Desert Foxes’ place in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, as Algeria has a five-point lead on Zimbabwe and six-point cushion on Botswana with those two sides meeting on one of two remaining qualifying matchdays.
The Man City man worked Chicksen left, then cut again to the right before lashing a shot between a second defender Tafadzwa Rusike and goalkeeper Talbert Shumba.
Mahrez has a goal or an assist in five of his last caps for Algeria to give him 18 goals and 31 assists in 61 caps. The reigning champions join Senegal and hosts Cameroon in the tournament, set for January-February 2022.
West Ham United’s Said Benrahma is the man who sent this terrific diagonal ball, but Mahrez did the heavy lifting.
Ladies and gentlemen .. Riyad Karim Mahrez.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) November 16, 2020