Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history by beating Egypt on penalties in Sunday’s final. Senegal won 4-2 on penalties after Sadio Mane missed a penalty early in normal time.
The final at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, was billed as a battle between Liverpool stars Mane of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt but it never reached those heights.
The Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy saved a penalty shot from Mohanad Lasheen in the shootout to allow Mane to score and gain just reward for Senegal, who were by far the better side in the match but missed numerous opportunities to win it.
Egypt’s goalkeeper Mohamed Abo Gabal was outstanding in preventing Senegal from scoring in the shootout, which was the fourth time in as many games they had played extra time in energy-sapping conditions.
There might be some fitting retribution for Senegal mentor Aliou Cisse, who was skipper of the side in 2002 when they lost the last on punishments to Cameroon after a goalless draw, having missed his kick in the shootout.
Egypt, who needed to manage without suspended mentor Carlos Queiroz in the uncovered, fought to get into the game and made just half-possibilities, with their charm Mohamed Salah to a great extent incapable.
Salah was in tears toward the end, having additionally lost 2017 last to Cameroon and seeing his Liverpool colleague Mane seal his destiny this time round.
Senegal cushioned the opportunity for an early lead when Mohamed Abdelmonem’s late, wild test cut down left-back Saliou Ciss.
Salah had an extended discussion with Gabal before Mane moved forward to take the spot kick. The last option went for power straight down the centre of the objective however his work was saved, the tenth punishment miss in the competition.
Ismaila Sarr’s craftiness down the traditional created all the more early issues for Egypt and his low cross was barely missed by Mane at the back post on two events.
Egypt, at last, caused some caution in the Senegal box when Salah cut inside off the right and constrained a decent save from Mendy.
The example of play proceeded in the final part with Senegal doing a large portion of the assaulting and both Famara Diedhiou and Mane were denied by Gabal one after another.
Marwan Hamdi streaked a header wide at the opposite end, while in the primary portion of additional time, Gabal again made a fine stop to deny substitute Bamba Dieng.