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AFCON 2021: Mane seals historic title for Senegal over Egypt


Sadio Mane scored the winning spot-kick as Senegal claimed a first ever Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over seven-times winner Egypt following a 0-0 draw in the decider in Yaounde on Sunday.

Mane had missed an early penalty in the game but stepped up to make history for the west African nation, and banish the memories of its 2019 failure when it lost the final to Algeria.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy saved from Mohanad Lasheen in the shootout to allow Mane the chance to seal the win and gain just reward for Senegal, which had been by far the better side in the final but spurned numerous opportunities to win the game.

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Egypt had its goalkeeper Mohamed Abo Gabal to thank for getting it into the shootout at the Stade d’Olembe as he was outstanding in keeping Senegal at bay in what was the fourth time in as many games it had played extra time in energy-sapping conditions.

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

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

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

Senegal fluffed the chance for an early lead when Mohamed Abdelmonemโ€™s late, reckless challenge brought down left back Saliou Ciss.

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Salah had a lengthy conversation with Gabal before Mane stepped up to take the spot-kick. The latter went for power straight down the middle of the goal but his effort was saved, the 10th penalty miss in the tournament.

Ismaila Sarrโ€™s trickery down the right wing caused more early problems for Egypt and his low cross was narrowly missed by Mane at the back post on two occasions.

Egypt finally caused some alarm in the Senegal box when Salah cut inside off the right and forced a good save from Mendy.

The pattern of play continued in the second half with Senegal doing most of the attacking and both Famara Diedhiou and Mane were denied by Gabal in quick succession.

Marwan Hamdi flashed a header wide at the other end, while in the first half of extra time, Gabal again made a fine stop to deny substitute Bamba Dieng.

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