The ‘Teranga Lions of Senegal are African Nations Cup (AFCON) champions for the very first time in their history.
The West African side prevailed over their Northern counterparts in Egypt in a game that could only be decided on penalties.
Senegal went up against seven-time winners Egypt setting themselves up to win the competition for the first time in their history after their last AFCON final heartbreak to another North African counterpart Algeria.
This win will be a redemption for Senegal’s coach Aliou Cissé triumphing in what is his third final involvement after missing the decisive spot-kick in the 2002 final as a player, and his team losing 2019 final to Algeria.
Aliou Cisse Third Time Lucky With Senegal
Senegal started the brightest and determined to right the wrongs of their defeat in the last AFCON final, as they had a chance within four minutes to take the lead when Mohamed Abdelmonem brought down Saliou Ciss in the penalty area.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane stepped up to take the penalty which was saved by Gabaski who has saved two penalties in Egypt’s semi-final shoot-out win over Cameroon.
Another Liverpool’s forward Mohammed Salah created two chances for himself which were denied by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as the scores remained goalless at halftime.
The second half did not see much goalmouth action, as the defensive solidity of Egypt who has conceded just two goals through the tournament gave Senegal very few opportunities.
With the play going scrappy, and the fact that five AFCON finals since 2000 have gone to extra-time, an extra 30 minutes wads inevitable.
Within seconds of the extra time, Senegal had their best chance since Mané’s missed penalty as Gabaski produced an impressive save to deny Bamba Dieng.
The extra time ended goalless and went into penalties, as Sadio Mane despite earlier losing a spot-kick, stepped up to net the winning spot-kick in a show of supreme mental strength.