Mane, who switched to Liverpool in 2016 after two years with the Saints, netted a penalty seven minutes into added time to ship a lucky 1-0 Group B victory over Zimbabwe in Bafoussam.
Just a few hours later it was the flip of Boufal, now at French Ligue 1 Angers after 4 years with Southampton, to attain and earn Morocco a 1-0 Group C win over Ghana in Yaounde.
Gabon overcame the absence of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to beat debutants Comoros 1-0 within the different sport within the part.
With Arsenal star Aubameyang sidelined after testing constructive for Covid-19, Aaron Boupendza slammed in from an acute angle on the quarter-hour to snap a five-game winless run on the event.
Guinea edged Malawi 1-0 by way of a Thirty fifth-minute aim from Issiaga Sylla they usually share first place in Group B with Senegal.
The outcomes maintained a run of one-goal victories in a event that lastly kicked off on Sunday after being postponed by a 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameroon got here from behind within the event opener to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 and Cape Verde struggled to a 1-0 win over 10-man Ethiopia within the different Group A conflict.
On Tuesday, document seven-time champions Egypt confront three-time winners Nigeria within the northwestern metropolis of Garoua in what guarantees to be a spotlight of the 36-match first spherical.
Catastrophe struck gallant underdogs Zimbabwe when a shot hit the proper arm of Kelvin Madzongwe and Mane despatched Petros Mhari the incorrect manner with the penalty on 97 minutes to settle a lacklustre affair.
Whereas Senegal, searching for a primary title after twice ending runners-up, dominated possession, they hardly ever threatened to interrupt down a well-organised Zimbabwe defence.
“It was troublesome enjoying in such sizzling situations, and never having a chance to play any warm-up matches affected us,” mentioned Mane.
“We left it very late to attain, however a very powerful situation was to safe most factors and we achieved that. Now we should attempt to carry out higher towards Guinea.”
After a quiet begin, Mane burst between two defenders on 24 minutes solely to see his low shot, aimed on the far nook of the web, blocked by Mhari.
As half-time approached within the Cameroonian highlands, Mane turned supplier, establishing unmarked Idrissa Gueye, who was let down by his first contact as he ready to shoot.
Senegal survived a scare as full-time loomed with a Zimbabwe free-kick making a half likelihood earlier than the ball was grasped by goalkeeper Seny Dieng, deputising for Edouard Mendy, who’s recovering from Covid-19.
With a cagey affair between Morocco and Ghana seemingly heading for a goalless stalemate, Boufal turned within the goalmouth and fired a unfastened ball previous goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott on 83 minutes.
“It is an excellent victory,” mentioned Morocco boss Vahid Halilhodzic.
“I advised the gamers I used to be happy with them. We had plenty of issues. We have been lacking 4 or 5 gamers in assault and I used to be compelled to make use of some boys who have been enjoying within the Cup of Nations for the primary time.”
After a cagey, foul-riddled begin at a 42,500-seat stadium named after former Cameroon president Ahmadou Ahidjo, Thomas Partey got here shut on 32 minutes for Ghana together with his free-kick going simply over the crossbar.
That was a sign for each groups to point out extra urgency and Morocco captain Romain Saiss received his head to a free-kick in a crowded goalmouth solely to see it fly over.
Simply earlier than half-time when a solo run by Joseph Paintsil provided Ghana hope of a aim, however his end was embarrassing, sending his shot effectively large.
Paintsil threatened once more early within the second half with a prolonged dribble solely to move poorly on the sting of the field.
Paintsil fired goalwards with 18 minutes remaining solely to be denied by an excellent one-hand save from Yassine Bounou.
“It was a tricky sport towards among the finest groups in CAN. I believe Morocco have been a bit fortunate,” mentioned Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac.