Sadio Mane spot on as Senegal win Afcon title after epic final against Egypt

Liverpool star converts winning spot kick in shoot-out to hand his team first continental win

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Liverpool star Sadio Mane won his duel with clubmate Mohamed Salah as he made up for a first-half penalty miss by converting the winning spot-kick in a shoot-out to help Senegal beat Egypt and lift a maiden Africa Cup of Nations title on Sunday.

The two teams were locked at 0-0 after extra-time in the final but Liverpool star Mane kept his cool in the shoot-out which his team won 4-2.

Mane had earlier wasted a chance to put Senegal ahead inside seven minutes in Yaounde when his penalty was saved by Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal, who made multiple saves throughout the night.

However, Egypt and Salah suffered heartbreak as they chased a record-extending eighth title.

Senegal had lost two finals previously, including at the last African Cup in Egypt in 2019, when Mane was left inconsolable. This time, he delivered when it mattered.

The final at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde was billed as a battle between Liverpool stars Mane and Salah, but it was a battle of attrition.

Mane's evening got off to a very different start when, after Saliou Ciss was tripped inside the box by Mohamed Abdelmonem, he went head-to-head with Gabaski from the spot. The frontman opted for power but the Egypt keeper dived to his right to beat his attempt.

Senegal dominated the early exchanges without managing to make the pressure tell, and they feared the worst when Salah embarked upon a mazy 28th-minute run only to scuff his shot at Mendy.

However, Aliou Cisse's men continued to dominate with Gabaski's goal coming under increasing pressure in the second half .

Substitute Marwan Hamdy might have won it when he glanced a 75th-minute header across the face of goal as Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy dithered and Senegal substitute Bamba Dieng volleyed high over at the other end as time ran down, but extra time was required.

Gabaski denied Dieng seconds into the added period and then repelled his downward header and a viciously-swerving piledriver to preserve Egypt's hopes, but it was opposite number Mendy who had to be at his best to keep out Hamdy's blistering 116th-minute strike.

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In the shoot-out, defender Abdelmonem was the first to miss, with his penalty cannoning off the post. But Senegal’s Bouna Sarr had the next penalty saved by Abou Gabal, who had also pulled off save after save during the game to keep Egypt in it.

Mohanad Lasheen had Egypt’s fourth penalty saved by Mendy, leaving Mane to win it.

There may be some poetic justice for Senegal manager Cisse, who was captain of the side in 2002 when they lost the final on penalties to Cameroon after a goalless draw, having missed his kick in the shootout.

Egypt, who had to do without suspended coach Carlos Queiroz in the dug-out, battled to get into the game and created only half-chances, with their talisman Salah largely ineffective.

Salah was shattered at the end, having also lost the 2017 final to Cameroon and seeing his Liverpool team mate Mane seal his fate this time round.

Updated: February 07, 2022, 3:24 AM