Sadio Mane did not let speculation about his future at Liverpool affect him on international duty, scoring a hat-trick to become Senegal’s all-time leading scorer.
Mane’s goals secured a 3-1 win over 10-man Benin in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, moving him past Henri Camara with 31 goals in 86 appearances.
The 30-year-old Liverpool midfielder has one year left on his contract and has been linked with a move to German champions Bayern Munich.
Before the game, the forward joked that he would seek advice from his countrymen on social media.
“Isn’t it between 60-70% of Senegalese that want me to leave Liverpool? I will do what they want. Don’t worry, it’s not far. Don’t be in a hurry, you’ll see it soon, there’s no problem,” Mane said.
In Diamniadio, Mane scored an early penalty and added a second from close range midway through the first half.
After Benin midfielder Sessi D’Almeida was sent off, Sadio Mane completed his hat-trick with another spot-kick on the hour mark, before the visitors equalized late on through Junior Olaitan.
Senegal won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in February, with Mane scoring the shootout winner against Egypt, and Aliou Cisse’s side began their title defense by topping Group L.
The Teranga Lions lead Madagascar and Rwanda, who drew on Thursday, by two points.
Mali thrashed Congo-Brazzaville in the first round of qualifiers on Saturday, and Algeria, Gabon, Mauritania, and The Gambia also won.