On Sunday, Aliou Cissé’s team defeated Egypt in a penalty shootout, winning 4-2 in the end. The Teranga Lions defeated Mo Salah’s Pharaohs in Yaoundé’s Olembé stadium.
For Mané’s teammates, this triumph marks the culmination of an entire tournament. Mohamed Abou Gabal, the Egyptian goalkeeper, saved a penalty in the fourth minute. The Senegalese’s fingertips were not burned by this failed penalty. Despite having 57 per cent ball control, the Senegalese were up against an outstanding Egyptian goalkeeper.
By the end of the second half, the two teams were tied 0-0 and had to return to the field. Goal-scoring opportunities on both sides did not materialise during extra time. Egypt fell to Senegal after missing two penalty kicks.
The showpiece game pitted Liverpool talents Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah against each other for the title of African Champions. The game finished in a deadlock and headed to a shootout after a dramatic contest in which Mané had an early penalty saved.
Egypt weathered the Senegal storm well throughout the encounter, creating a few good chances, and would have fancied their chances following their recent success in shootouts at this event. It was left up to Mané to score the game-winning penalty, avenging his previous miss and handing Senegal their first ever African Cup of Nations title.
● Historical night for Senegal
Senegal remained unfazed and continued to dominate the midfield. Salah was used by the Pharaohs to counter, but he was routinely outmanned in the Senegalese half. The danger came from the opposite end, as Ismaila Sarr sent in a couple of dangerous balls across the six-yard box that no one could reach.
On the opposite side, Mane tried the same, but Egypt’s defence stayed firm at the last line. They maintained possession and position but found it difficult to break through and produce clear-cut chances as the game became more cagey.
Senegal came close to scoring in the first minute of extra time, which sparked excitement. Dieng made a break down the left channel and launched a shot, but Gabal’s positioning and footwork were superb, allowing him to make a fantastic stop.
Gabaski was called into action once more, this time saving Dieng’s header from a Ciss cross. Regardless of the outcome, Egypt’s goalkeeper was the man of the match on the night, and he could be a strong contender for the tournament’s player.
Egypt took their time building up the attack, which ended with Marwan Hamdy scoring from the edge of the box.
After 120 minutes of football, neither team was able to find a breakthrough, and the game was decided by a penalty shootout. Egypt was the first to make a mistake, with Abdelmonem’s second shot hitting the post. Gabaski reacted by stopping a penalty kick from Bruno Sarr. With three chances wasted, Hamdy scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Mane had a chance to win the penalty on the sixth shot after Dieng converted and Mendy saved Lasheen. At the end of a tense night, Mane converted a penalty kick to earn Senegal their first AFCON title.