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Africa: Africa Cup of Nations
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S. Mané (90)

Bayern's Sarr plays 90 minutes in midfield during Senegal's opening victory

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

FC Bayern München fullback Bouna Sara played a full 90 minutes in midfield on Monday afternoon in Senegal's very narrow 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. 
Bouna Sarr.
Bouna Sarr.
Africa's highest ranked country in the latest FIFA standings had some difficulty getting their 2021 AFCON campaign off the ground at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam on Monday. The Senegalese Lions of Teranga squared off against a Zimbabwe side captained by former TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Knowledge Musona.

Aliou Cissé's heavily favored West African Lions, like virtually every other team in the tournament, has had to deal with COVID absences. As a result, FC Bayern München fullback Bouna Sarr moved up into midfield. Less than 60 seconds into the match, Sarr had fired a warning shot just wide of goal. Moving into the box right behind Liverpool striker Sadio Man, Sarr got off another rifled effort off in the 21st.

The 29-year-old FCB professional racked up five shots on the day. As the team's primary free-kick/corner taker, Sarr recorded a further two assisted shots. It proved a very active day for the sparsely utilized former Olympique de Marseille player, who found himself bench following him error prone matches for Bayern after his October 2020 transfer. Sarr was certainly needed for his national ream today.

In terms of the match itself, the dominant Lions could not turn upwards of 70 percent possession and a 3-to-1 advantage in terms of chances into a goal throughout the match. Finishing was simply too sloppy. The Warriors of Zimbabwe began to grow into the game late in the first half and also looked much sharper during stretches of the second 45. A 0-0 draw seemed to be in the cards, until match official Mario Escobar awarded a penalty at 90+4.

Sarr's former Marseille teammate Papa Gueye fired in an effort that Kelvin Madzongwe was adjudged to have blocked with his elbow whilst sprawling down to block. The VAR team confirmed the penalty and Liverpool's Mané converted for the 1-0 at 90+7. Heartbreak from the Warriors, whom hard fought so hard for so long to get the draw.

In other Bundesliga-related AFCON news, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting played 21 minutes in relief yesterday during Cameroon's 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in the tournament opener. The Bayern striker seemed to show no signs of the knee problems that plagued him recently. Leipzig's Ilaix Moriba--out of COVID quarantine--is on Guinea's bench squad today as the National Elephants begin their tournament against Malawi

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