AFCON 2023

Senegal defeated Egypt 4-2 on penalties.

Senegal is the winner. In a penalty shootout, the African Cup of Nations is decided.

Senegal defeated Egypt 4-2 on penalties to win their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations after the final went goalless after extra time. Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty kick.

The Liverpool striker had a penalty saved by Pharaohs goalkeeper Gabaski in the seventh minute.

In Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy denied Mohanad Lasheen, giving Mane the chance to win it.

In extra time, Gabaski had made three excellent stops from Senegal’s Bamba Dieng.

And in a match billed as a fight between Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt, it was the former who came out on top.

Senegal has won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after two previous final defeats, while Egypt missed out on a record-extending eighth continental title, which would have also been a first for Salah.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse remarked, “It only shows that if you work hard and persevere, you will get what you desire.”

“I am overcome with emotion since the Senegalese people have yearned for this trophy for 60 years.”

Egypt had gone the distance in all four of its knockout games at the competition, defeating Ivory Coast and hosts Cameroon on penalty kicks en route to the final.

By the time the game went to a shootout, Gabaski had already saved four penalties in the competition, but this time the 33-year-old was victorious.

Egypt made the first mistake when Mohamed Abdelmonem’s penalty hit the left-hand upright and bounced away, but Gabaski denied Bouna Sarr right away.

Lasheen’s effort, however, was saved, and Mane won it with a powerful finish into the bottom left-hand corner.

Salah, his Liverpool teammate, was not even given the opportunity to take a penalty, as the Pharaohs captain was set to finish fifth for his side.

Senegal has lost two Nations Cup finals, in 2002 and 2019.

Sadio Mane speaks to Egypt keeper Gabaski before his first-half penalty

While the Teranga Lions will be celebrating their first tournament victory, Egypt will have an opportunity to avenge themselves next month in a two-legged play-off for a spot in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Salah’s compact and defensively-minded Egyptian team faced a free-flowing Senegal side with Mane as its attacking spearhead in the contest.

When Abdelmonem pushed in on Senegal left-back Saliou Ciss in the fourth minute, the West Africans had an early chance to take the lead.

Mane exchanged words with Gabaski before placing the ball on the spot, as if to tell the goalkeeper to return to his line.

Gabaski leapt the right way and punched the ball clear after the 29-year-old blasted his attempt just to the left of centre.

Salah was well-received by the Senegalese defense and only had two attempts in the first half, prompting Mendy to make a fine stop on the second.

The second half became rather disjointed as Egypt, the seven-time champions, attempted to break up play with coach Carlos Quieroz on the sidelines due to suspension.

Senegal took the game to their opponents in extra time, with Dieng seeing a low, angled effort punched away and a good downward header clawed back.

With three minutes remaining, Mendy tipped over a ferocious attempt from Marwan Hamdy after the substitute had a long-range shot pushed behind.

Cisse’s redemption
Senegal has been Africa’s top-ranked team for the past three years under coach Cisse, who was a player when Senegal lost in the 2002 final and was in charge when they lost three years ago.

Mane was a key figure in their historic victory in Cameroon, scoring three goals and assisting on another two.

Salah’s influence waned as the game progressed, and he was defeated for the second time in a Nations Cup final, after being part of the Egypt team that was defeated by Cameroon in 2017.

In June and July of next year, the Ivory Coast will host the next Afcon.

After a lengthy presentation that saw captain Kalidou Koulibaly, Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe, and Fifa head Gianni Infantino travel up to the VIP box in the stadium to greet Cameroon president Paul Biya, the Teranga Lions were finally able to raise the trophy.

Mohamed Salah walks past the Nations Cup trophy

‘Mane carried Senegal on his shoulder’
“Sadio Mane has put his country on his shoulders and given them the title,” Jermaine Jenas told Bazzup Sports Three. This is Senegal’s golden generation and they have managed to do it, it is a big moment for the country.

“With the pressure he was under, Mane hit that penalty with no question in his mind that he would score.

“It’s clear that Mane is a leader.” We know he is a top, top footballer, but the growth in the player over the years was very visible today in the biggest moment of his life.”

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