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AFCON 2021: Sadio Mane triumphs over Mohamed Salah in epic AFCON final

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By Martin Graham | 7th Feb 2022

The Teranga Lions of Senegal have finally secured a first ever African Cup of Nations by beating record holders Egypt in a penalty shootout in Sunday’s final.

Senegal and Egypt played out a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes to set up a tense penalty shootout. Egypt capitulated despite goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal providing them a lifeline with a great penalty save. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were both slated to take the last penalties for their countries but Salah never got his chance as Mane scored the winning penalty to send the nation of Egypt into a meltdown.

The Teranga Lions overcame their 2019 disappointment in Egypt when they lost to Algeria to claim an Afcon title after three final appearances. They are the third team to achieve this feat in the history of the tournament.

Egypt assistant coach Diaa El Sayed took charge of the game in the absence of coach Carlos Queiroz who was red-carded in the semi finals against third place team and host nation Cameroon. The only change to the starting line up from that match was Emam Ashour.

Senegal, on the other hand, gave Watford winger Ismaila Sarr his first start in the tournament which greatly increased their attacking threat.

Senegal got an early penalty when Mohamed Abdelmonem brought down Saliou Ciss in the fourth minute. Sadio Mane stepped up to take the penalty, but was thwarted by Gabaski, who received some advice from Man’s teammate and his team captain, Salah.

Senegal kept their rampaging attack, prompting eight saves from Gabaski who was eventually named man of the match.

Egypt only had their first shot on target which was saved by FIFA Men’s best goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy in the 43rd minute.

Mendy pipped Abou Gabal to the award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper while Mane secured the award for the best player of the tournament.

Mane and Liverpool will be returning to Liverpool in the coming days and will do battle again for a spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this December as both countries have been drawn against each other in the third round of the CAF World Cup qualifiers playoffs.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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