Senegal downs Egypt to win first-ever Afcon final

Senegal downs Egypt to win first-ever Afcon final

Sadio Mane after missing a first-half penalty against Egypt redeemed himself by scoring the winning penalty as Senegal edged out Egypt to win its first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title.

Having won all their matches in the knockout stages in 90 minutes, the Teranga Lions were staring at an insurmountable task against this year’s most productive team in the penalty box. The Pharaohs found their way to the finals by winning two of their three knockout stage matches on penalties with goalkeeper Abou Gabal often standing out as the hero.

Senegal had the opportunity to shoot into the lead in the first 10 minutes of the game but Sadio Mane squandered the opportunity from 12 yards out thus forcing his teammates to play out 120 minutes of football in the night. That might have been a daunting task for the Senegalese but their Egyptian counterparts were the worst off when it became evident that the match will head to extra time. The Pharaohs played out 120 minutes of football and penalties in the semi-final win over Cameroon and had a day less or rest than their West African opposition.

Both sides missed a couple of the few chances that came their way to end the tie in normal time and when it was time for penalties, Senegal got the first advantage when Mohamed Abdelmonem missed the second kick for Egypt after Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo had both scored for Senegal.

Gabaski made himself too large and tall in between the post to deny Bouna Sarr who took Senegal’s third kick, allowing Marwan Hamdi the chance to level it at 2-2 for Egypt. Bamba Dieng had the pressure to put his side back in front and he did so well by beating Gabaski before going on to watch Mohanad Lasheen miss his opportunity for Egypt. Sadio Mane fired himself up to face the goalkeeper he failed to beat in the first half and this time around, he powered a serious shot that flew past the stranded Abou Gabal to win the tie for Senegal.

Egypt’s goalkeeper, Abou Gabal was named the man of the match while his opposite number in the final and Chelsea star Edouard Mendy was adjudged the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament and his teammate Sadio Mane scooped the Player of the Tournament prize.

By: Clifford Adumbire |

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