Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse has admitted that talisman Sadio Mane's absence is a problem for the African champions at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
On Monday night, the Lions of Teranga began their World Cup campaign in disappointing fashion as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands. Goals courtesy of Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen ensured that Louis van Gaal's men sit at the top of Group A after the opening set of fixtures.
Prior to that concession of goals, the Senegalese had created multiple goalscoring opportunities but failed to put the ball into the back of the net.
Former captain and current head coach Cisse appears to believe that if 2022 Ballon d'Or runner-up Mane was available for the game, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations winners would have won the match.
"We are disappointed to have not scored, we had two or three very good chances. We needed to be more effective in front of goal," Cisse said after the match, as per Goal.
"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.
"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."
Mane, who was originally included in the squad, was forced to withdraw following a fibula injury he sustained while on club duty with Bayern Munich.
Their defeat to the Dutch was the first time Senegal had lost the opening match of a FIFA World Cup campaign, and with a crucial tussle against host nation Qatar on the horizon, Cisse's charges will have to get their bearings relatively quickly if they want to progress to the knockout stages.
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