Senegal breaks the spell and wins the African Cup on penalties

Sadio Mane converted the final penalty that broke the curse of Senegal on the Africa Cupwhich it conquered for the first time in its history by imposing itself on Egyptthe most successful team in the tournament, which did not have the support of its goalkeeper Mohamed Gabaski on other occasions in the shots.

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy saved the penultimate Egyptian shot, taken by Mohanad Lasheen, and the Liverpool footballer, who had missed from eleven meters at the start of the match, scored the decisive shot.

Mané did not fail, victorious in the face to face with his teammate Mohamed Salahthe most committed player of his team, but not enough to overcome the Senegalese team, who sought the victory with more zeal during the match.

Mohamed Salah stays at the gates of the title. Reuters

Third time was the charm for Senegal, who had been beaten in two previous finals. They lost to Cameroon in Mali 2002 and the last one, in Egypt 2019, fell to Algeria. The insistence had a prize for the Teranga lions, who left the favorite without a prize. Egypt, with seven titles, is the most successful in the tournament, although the last one was twenty-two years ago, in Angola 2010.

The clash could have taken a radical turn and shaken from the beginning when a foul inside the box by Mohamed Abdelmonem on Saliou Ciss was sanctioned as a penalty. Sadio Mané executed the shot from eleven meters. But the Liverpool attacker failed. Goalkeeper Gabaski, who had already stopped three in the semi-final shootout against Cameroon, saved the shot. The shock lived on.

Senegal found a clear way through the wings. Especially on the right, where Ismaila Sarr deepened and crossed. But his passes found no destination.

Egypt was waiting. Overtaken by their rival, with more enthusiasm and faster, Carlos Queiroz's team took refuge in the inspiration of Mohamed Salah. The great threat to Senegal was the Liverpool player who had, on the verge of half-time, his team's best chance when, in an individual action, he executed a great shot that was answered with a good save by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

At game time Carlos Queiroz tried to shake up the match and made a triple substitution. He brought in Trezeguet, Zizo and Marwan Hamdi and retired Amr El Solia, Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed for more depth. He didn't find her.

Senegal maintained control of the game and only the solvency of central defenders Mohamed Abdelmoneim and Mahmoud Hamdi prevented the last pass from reaching the last man to finish.

Sané scored the penalty that gave Senegal victory. Reuters

The shock opened in the final stretch. Egypt found spaces and the first chances. Like a shot from Zizo with a header that went wide of the right post. The Egyptian improvement was not enough to break the balance and the match went into extra time, as has been customary for the pharaohs who have gone through each tie with extra time in between.

Little by little, goalkeeper Gabaski increased his prominence. Right at the start of extra time he prevented Senegal's goal when Bamba Dieng stood alone and shot cross. Then he prevented another from the Marseille striker, with a header, which he deflected for a corner. And another one from the attacker with a low shot that he also deflected.

Penalties decided. Mané did not fail in the final moment and scored the winning penalty.

Data sheet:

0 - Senegal: Edward Mendy; Bouna Sarr, Kalifou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Saliou Ciss; Cheikhou Kouyaté (Pape Gueye, m.66), Nampalys Mendy; Ismaila Sarr (Boulaye Dia, m.77), Idrissa Gueye, Sadio Mané; and Famara Diedhiou (Bamba Dieng, m.77). Coach: Aliou Cisse

0 - Egypt: Gabaski; Emam Ashour, Mohamed Abdelmoneim, Mahmoud Hamdi, Mohamed Abo El Fotouh; Mohamed Elneny, Hamdi Fathi (Mohanad Lasheen, m.99), Amr El Solia (Trezeguet, m.58); Mohamed Salah, Omar Marmoush (Zizo, m.58) and Mostafa Mohamed (Marwan Hamdi, m.59). Coach Carlos Queiroz

penalties: 1-0, Koulibaly; 1-1, Zizo; 2-1, Diallo; 2-1, Abdlmonem (failure. post); 2-1, Sarr (failure. for Gabaski); 2-2, Hamdi; 3-2, Dieng; 3-2, Lasheen (misses to Mendy); 4-2; Mane

Referee: Victor Miguel de Freitas Gomes (RSA). He showed a yellow card to Egypt's Mohamed Abdelmonem and Hamdi Fathi and Senegal's Nampalys Mendy, Abdou Diallo, Sadio Mané and Kalifou Koulibaly.

Incidents: final of the thirty-third edition of the African Cup played at the D'Olembé stadium in Yaoundé.

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