Highlights: Mane grabs hat-trick for Senegal and hints at leaving Liverpool

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Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick as Senegal overcame Benin 3-1 on Saturday in the first match of their Africa Cup of Nations title defence, and hinted that he will not be at Liverpool next season.

Speaking to the media before the Group L clash, Mane said: “I will do what they (the Senegalese people) want.

“Like everyone else, I am on social media and see the comments. Is it not between 60 and 70 percent of Senegalese want me to leave Liverpool?”

Mane, who forms a deadly strike partnership with two-time African Footballer of the Year Mohamed Salah from Egypt, has been linked to German giants Bayern Munich.

He had said he would reveal his future plans after Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last weekend, but did not do so.

“We will see soon,” he told the media conference in Senegal. “Do not be in hurry because we will see this together.”

The 30-year-old reigning African Footballer of the Year converted a 12th-minute penalty at the national stadium in Diamniadio near Dakar.

Mane struck again on 23 minutes, bursting into the box and scoring at the second attempt after goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe blocked his initial shot.

Benin had Sessi D’Almeida sent off early in the second half of the 2023 qualifier and Mane completed his hat-trick on the hour from another penalty before Junior Olaitan reduced arrears.

Next up for Senegal is a trip to Rwanda on Tuesday, and it is hard to imagine any result other than another victory for the Teranga Lions.

Rwanda drew 1-1 away to Mozambique and they share second place behind Senegal and ahead of Benin, who were guided by caretaker Moussa Latoundji after the departure of French coach Michel Dussuyer.

 

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