A resilient and organised defensive display by the Warriors was eventually to no avail as Sadio Mane’s stoppage time penalty sealed all three points for Senegal in the opening AFCON 2021 Group B match.
When it appeared that all Zimbabwe’s hard work throughout the match would pay off with a deserved point, defender Kelvin Madzongwe blocked a goal-bound shot with his hand, and referee Mario Escobar did not hesitate to point to the penalty spot.
Despite protests from the Zimbabwe players, which resulted in Madzongwe being booked and VAR being consulted, the desicion stood and Mane sent goalkeeper Petros Mhari the wrong way to win it right at the death for Aliou Cisse’s man.
Senegal started the game well, but were the better team mainly because the Warriors gave them too much respect.
Knowledge Musona found himself in acres of space in the 7th minute but when it was perhaps better to find Ishmael Wadi, the Zimbabwe captain went for goal but his weak effort went wide.
Five minutes later, Keita Baldé also found himself in space on the edge of the Zimbabwe box but he blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Fodé Ballo-Touré tried his luck a few moments later but his shot went wide.
The first big chance of the game fell to Bouna Sarr, who was released by Mane but his effort missed the far post by inches.
Zimbabwe got a set piece opportunity on the edge of the box just after the half hour mark, which was wasted by Musona.
The late stages of the first half produced very little in terms of goal mouth action and the first period ended goalless.
Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza made a change at the beginning of the second half, bringing Tino Kadewere for Prince Dube.
The first real chance of the second half fell to Balde, whose dangerous cut back was well read and collected by an alert Mhari.
The Warriors defended well for the remainder of the second half, until the penalty incident right at the death, broke their hearts.