Sadio Mane won the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal on Sunday after striking the decisive penalty in the shootout of an attritional final with Egypt that ended 0-0 after 120 minutes.

It was a moment of redemption for the Senegalese frontman after he failed to convert from the spot in normal time.

Mane consoled Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah shortly after his strike clinched the Lions of Teranga’s first-ever Cup of Nations triumph.

Mane should’ve put his country ahead in the seventh minute. Mohamed Abdelmonem, perhaps showing signs of fatigue after featuring in every game of Egypt’s run, made the referee’s job easy when he flattened Saliou Ciss in the box with an inexplicably late tackle. But Mane, who scored a match-winning spot-kick in stoppage time of Senegal’s group opener, was thwarted by the excellent Gabaski.

Salah appeared to offer the Egyptian goalkeeper some advice before his Liverpool partner stepped up to take the penalty.

Senegal was comfortably the better team in the first half, but Salah couldn’t be silenced for all of it. As the game neared its interval, the forward collected the ball on the right and referred to page one of his personal playbook as he surged inside and forced a save from Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy at his near post.

Senegal’s dominance continued until Egypt twice came close to taking an undeserved lead when Abdelmonem nodded over and Marwan Hamdy flicked a header wide. Finally, as the game ticked toward its final 15 minutes of normal time, the Pharaohs woke from their slumber.

Hamdy was under another cross that barely missed his head before Egypt was forced into extra time for a fourth straight match. Senegal won each of its knockout matches by two-goal margins, so it was headed to its first additional half-hour.


Salah again returned to the role of spectator as Gabaski denied Bamba Dieng with three fine saves and Abdou Diallo wasted a header.

Senegal had squandered chances throughout the 120 minutes, and Egypt appeared destined to pickpocket the victory via its third successful shootout at the Cup of Nations.

But that’s not how it worked out. Abdelmonem hit the post and Bouna Sarr’s effort was saved to keep the shootout level until Mendy corralled Mohanad Lasheen’s disappointing shot. Mane converted the next spot-kick, giving Senegal an unassailable 4-2 lead in the shootout which ensured Salah didn’t step out of the center circle for his own opportunity.

A second installment of Mane vs. Salah is just around the corner: the Lions of Teranga and the Pharaohs fight it out in a single-elimination playoff for a World Cup place in March.


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