Senegal's star forward Sadio Mane was distraught after his side came undone against Ivory Coast in the Round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday night.
The defending African champions were eliminated from AFCON 2024 by the host nation in a penalty shootout following an intense 1-1 draw in regulation time.
The result saw Ivory Coast progress to the quarter-finals of AFCON 2024, while Senegal exited the tournament.
Mane speaks his mind after Senegal's AFCON 2024 loss
In a post-match interview, Sadio Mane reflected on the team's performance with a mix of disappointment and resilience.
In spite of their endeavours and impressive performances in Ivory Coast, Senegal ended up on the losing side.
“Football is cruel. The God of football was not with us tonight,” he somberly remarked.
We gave everything, we did what we had to. Even if I think we could have killed the match. But that is not the case.”
With a sigh, he concluded, “Overall, I will say that the best won.”
Senegal starlet Camara inconsolable after AFCON defeat
As the final whistle echoed across the stadium, exhaustion painted the faces of the Senegal players.
They had poured their hearts into every minute of the game, leaving nothing on the field.
Lamine Camara, the budding midfielder who recently turned 20, stood out as particularly inconsolable.
The young man was so overwhelmed by his tears that he literally couldn't walk off the pitch on his own. Cheikhou Kouyaté ended up carrying him off.
Over the past year, he has consistently tasted success, marking significant milestones in his career.
His journey began with triumphs at the U20 AFCON and CHAN 2023, where his stellar performances earned him accolades as the Best Young Player.
This success only propelled him further, as he was crowned the CAF Best Young Player of 2023.
Venturing beyond his home country, Camara made a significant move to Metz, where his talent continued to shine, earning him the prestigious title of Ligue 2 Nugget of the Month.
His rise was unstoppable as he made his debut for the Senegal national team, quickly cementing his place in the squad.
His inclusion in the AFCON 2024 squad was a testament to his growing influence, and he didn't disappoint, delivering standout performances and even securing the Man of the Match award in a memorable clash against Gambia.
Camara's prowess in front of goal was evident, with crucial goals in the group stages of AFCON 2024 earning him further recognition as the tournament's Best Young Player.
With each achievement, Camara has proven himself to be a rising star destined for greatness in the world of football.