World Cup 2022: The absence of Sadio Mane is a problem for Senegal - Aliou Cisse

Published on: 22 November 2022

Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse believes his side felt the absence of Sadio Mane in their 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in their 2022 World Cup opener on Monday.

The African champions failed to capitalise on their chances created as two late goals from the Netherlands sealed a crucial victory in Group A.

PSV forward Cody Gakpo opened the scoring for the Netherlands after beating Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball to nod the Dutch in front with six minutes remaining before substitute Davy Klaasen scored in stoppage-time to seal all three points.

"Ismaila [Sarr] and Krepin [Diatta] are responsible there, but of course, the absence of Mane is a problem for us. Our attackers are good and we know what they are capable of," Cisse said after the match.

"It was a challenging game. We need to work on it (scoring goals) with Ismaila and the others. We expect a lot from him and Krepin."

Senegal will take on hosts Qatar on Friday in their second group game.

Sadio Mane was forced to withdraw from the World Cup because of injury.

Mane scored Senegal's winning penalty in the shootout victory over Egypt to clinch their first Africa Cup of Nations title earlier this year.