Sadio Mane sealed a historic maiden Africa Cup of Nations title for Senegal as he slotted in the crucial spot kick to defeat Egypt 4-2 on penalties in a tense shootout as the tournament came to an end in Olembe.
The game got off to the worst possible start for Egypt as Senegal were awarded a penalty with just four minutes on the clock.
Full-back Saliou Ciss was taken down in the box by Mohamed Abdelmonhem.
Sadio Mane was given the chance to put his country in front, but his penalty was dramatically saved by Mohamed Abou Gabal, who dived to his right to keep it out.
Despite dominating the majority of the game and having the better chances, Senegal were not able to capitalise, as Egypt grew into the game late on.
However, neither side could break the deadlock in regulation time. Both sides were also close to finding a winner at the end of extra-time, but they could not be separated.
A tense shootout saw three misses, including two for Egypt. That handed the chance for Mane to make history for his country and he made no mistake, lashing the ball into the bottom-left corner to break Egyptian hearts.
Senegal Win Africa Cup Of Nations
A sports mad country who have the best ranked national team in Africa are finally Africa Cup of Nations champions, but they had to dig in and win it the hard way against a robust Egyptian side, who are certainly no strangers to tasting success.
Aliou Cisse’s side had the better of the game, and created the best chances. Sadio Mane went from villain to hero for Senegal following his penalty miss in the sixth minute. He had to wait approximately another two hours until he was able to amend for his earlier mistake, as he slotted in the crucial penalty to win it for his country. It was always in the script, wasn’t it?
The Lions of Teranga have made up for their defeat to Algeria in the last edition of the competition, and the team will be delighted.
Player Of The Match – Mohamed Abou Gabal
One positive that Egypt can take from this game despite the heartbreak was the outstanding performance of their goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal – also known as Gabaski – as he single handedly kept his country in the game with some incredible saves.
The 33-year-old saved Sadio Mane’s penalty expertly at the beginning of the game, and that set the tone for what was to follow. In total, Gabaski made eight crucial saves. Senegal’s expected goals output of 1.70 shows just how good Abou Gabal played, and he has had a brilliant tournament.
Despite his age, his performances in this tournament have definitely put him in the shop window, and his club, Zamalek, may be face an uphill battle to keep him in the summer.
Senegal: E. Mendy 7, B. Sarr 6, Koulibaly 7, Diallo 7, Ciss 8, I. Gueye 7, N. Mendy 6, I. Sarr 6, Kouyate 6, Mane 6, Diedhiou 6. Subs: Dieng 7, Dia 6, P. Gueye 6.
Egypt: Gabal 9, Ashour 7, Abdelmonem 5, Wensh 7, Fotouh 7, Marmoush 6, Fathy 6, Soleya 6, Elneny 6, Salah 6. Subs: Hamdy 6, Lasheen 6, Zizo , Trezeguet 6.
6’ – PENALTY SAVED! Sadio Mane’s penalty is saved! The Senegal star’s spot kick is saved by Gabaski, who correctly guesses and makes the save to his right!
43’ – KEY SAVE! – Salah is denied brilliantly by Mendy! The Egypt talisman makes another darting run out wide on the right channel, before cutting inside.He sets himself for the shot, and drives the ball towards the near post, but Mendy tips it over!
100’ – ANOTHER BIG SAVE! Gabaski to the rescue again for Egypt! Ciss once again is causing problems out wide on the left. He then puts in a teasing cross, which Dieng gets his head on, but Gabaski tips it out for a corner! The resulting set-piece is also threatening as Abdou Diallo sends his header just over the bar!
114’ – WHAT A STRIKE! Dieng absolutely lashes one from distance with dip and swerve and it’s heading for the bottom corner! Gabaski gets in the way again and makes the save! Big big chance.
- Senegal seal their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title
- Egypt have now lost four of their last six meetings against Senegal.