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Champions League

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah’s AFCON pact of silence and penalty mind-games


Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mo Salah went head-to-head in this month’s Africa Cup of Nations final, with Senegal coming out on top following a penalty shootout

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Sadio Mane has opened up on the pact of silence between him and Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah following the dramatic African Cup of Nations final between the pair earlier this month.

The two Reds forwards guided their respective nations, Senegal and Egypt, to the final in Cameroon, with all the narrative going into the game about which one would come out on top.

Ultimately it was Mane, who scored the winning penalty in the shootout, having missed one during the initial 90 minutes.

The victory sealed Senegals’ first ever AFCON title, sparking wild scenes of celebration both on the pitch and back in Dakar.

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Sadio Mane and Mo Salah haven’t discussed the dramatic AFCON final since returning to Liverpool
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Image:

BBC Sport)

But Mane hasn’t been able to dwell on it, back into the Liverpool squad just a week later and with a vital World Cup qualifier against Egypt at the end of March.

The two African giants had already been paired prior to the final and Mane has admitted that the two colleagues aren’t talking about their next international face-off, instead focusing on domestic matters as Jurgen Klopp’s side continue to battle on all fronts.

“Me and Mo Salah don’t even talk about it,” he told the Que Golazo Youtube Channel. “I think that I’m still thinking about my African Cup, but it’s also an important game that means a lot to me and my people.

“If we can qualify – and we will do everything to do it – it’s very important for me, my team-mates and my country because it’s a really, really massive competition, which is a dream for any football player.

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“We will be well prepared for it and do everything possible to win because it’s really important.”

One of the lasting images of the final in Yaounde was Mane comforting Salah moments after his decisive spot-kick, with the Egyptian talisman unable to fight back tears.

Mane admitted the two have left over the incident surrounding his penalty miss
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Image:

YouTube/”SOCCERAM”)

And while they haven’t discussed the match itself, Mane revealed the two have found the time to laugh over an incident surrounding his unsuccessful penalty.

Salah could be seen speaking to ‘keeper Gabaski, before Mane joined the conversation, attempting to swing the perceived mind-games in his direction.

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He continued: “Until now – you won’t believe me – but we haven’t talked about it, because I know he’s still disappointed for sure.

The mind-games surrounding Mane’s penalty miss is now a point of laughter within the Liverpool squad
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

“We have mentioned when I missed the penalty, he said: ‘why did you come to see the goalkeeper?’ and I said ‘no because you’ve been talking to him and I’m sure you will play mind-games, so I will play mind-games as well.

“I saw him talking and I’m sure he was not saying anything much so it was fine to just say it was mind-games and I want to be more fun than them, so I go ‘Mo, I will put it in the right side, tell him I will put it in the right side.

“We were talking about this yesterday and laughing about it, it was quite funny.”

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