Cheikhou Kouyate ended his 2014/15 season by helping Senegal get their 2017 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign off to a winning start on Saturday.
The Lions of Teranga made no mistake in their home clash with Burundi, running out 3-1 winners to set the early pace in Group K.
Burundi made their hosts work for the points in Dakar, however, as a goal from Fiston Abdul Rasak cancelled out Moussa Konate’s early opener.
Senegal would not be denied, and a 63rd minute strike from Stoke City striker Mame Biram Diouf was followed up by a late goal from Southampton’s Saido Mane to seal the points.
Kouyate started in Senegal’s success and was pleased to come through the test.
He said: “Burundi were a disciplined team and even at 3-1, the game was not finished. It’s not easy in games like that, but we stayed focused to the end.”
Senegal’s next qualifier sees them take on Namibia, who lost their opener 1-0 to Niger, in early September.
The win gives Mali the early lead in Group C, ahead of Benin and Equatorial Guinea, who drew 1-1, and South Sudan.
The 27-year-old striker spent last season on loan at French club FC Metz, where he scored nine goals in 25 appearances.