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Historic win as Senegal beat Egypt to win first ever AFCON title

Historic win as Senegal beat Egypt to win first ever AFCON title

07/02/2022; 4:44 PM Steven D. Thompson By : Steven D. Thompson

Away from transfer news, a new champion emerged in the just concluded continental showpiece in Africa.

The curtains were drawn on the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Sunday night, with a new winner emerging. The game did not serve up a spectacle but left something for the memory. The competition served up many intrigues, controversies, excitements and dull moments.

AFCON served some comical refereeing decisions, like Janny Sikazwe blowing for full time in the game between Tunisia and Mali, despite about five minutes left to regulation time, or Victor Gomes sarcastically offering Salah his whistle and cards to ref the match.

Senegal win their first AFCON

After many attempts at the Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal have finally won the trophy for the first time in their history. The West African nationd the competition slowly with a fortuitous 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe.

On Sunday night, Senegal banished the ghosts of finals past when they beat Egypt to secure their first AFCON title. The Pharaohs of Egypt were gunning for their eighth title against Teranga Lions, who had come up short on two occasions.

In 2002, Senegal lost to Cameroon in the final via penalties and Algeria in 2019. On Sunday night in Yaounde, it looked like the fates had conspired against the Teranga Lions as Sadio Mane wasted a golden opportunity to put Senegal in the lead. The Liverpool star saw his penalty saved by Mohamed Abo Gabal.

Mane’s penalty miss was the tenth of such in the tournament and Gabal’s seventh penalty save at AFCON. The Zamalek goalkeeper was why the match was not over as a contest in the first 45 minutes.

Gabal made several saves to keep Egypt in the game. He stood between Senegal and the goal as he helped Egypt take the game into extra time and penalties. Egypt saw all their knockout matches go into extra-time and three go to penalties.

The Egyptians were third time unlucky as they lost 4-2 to Senegal in the shoot-out.

Stars of the tournament

The definition of poetic justice would probably have the picture of Aliou Cisse on it. The Senegal coach was the captain of the Teranga Lions that lost to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the 2002 AFCON final via penalties.

The coach missed his kick in the shoot-out but has led Senegal to victory on Cameroon soil via penalties.

Mane stole the show from an ineffectual Mo Salah as he scored the winning penalty, despite losing one in regulation time. The Liverpool star thus walked home with the tournament’s best player award.

Egypt was without their coach Carlos Queiroz suspended after receiving a red card in the game against Cameroon. The Pharaohs offered little offensively and were kept in the game by the brilliance of Mohamed Abo Gabal.

Edouard Mendy won the goalkeeper of the tournament, and what a year it is for the goalkeeper. Mendy was unemployed eight years ago and was close to quitting the game, but the last ten months have made it worth his while.

The Chelsea goalkeeper has won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA The Best Men's Goalkeeper, UEFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year and now an AFCON winner. He may still add the FIFA Club World Cup and the Carabao Cup to his list of titles before the month is up.

He is also the only goalkeeper to have kept a clean sheet in the final of the UEFA Champions League and AFCON.

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