Senegal beat Egypt on penalties to be crowned Africa Cup of Nations champions for the first time, with Sadio Mane converting the decisive kick after missing from the spot early in normal time.
It was the fifth of the last 11 AFCON finals to go extra-time after a 0-0 draw in 90 minutes and the fifth of those to be decided by a penalty shootout. Edouard Mendy made the crucial save to set it up for Mane to win it. Mohamed Salah didn’t even take a penalty.
There was immediate action in the game when Saliou Ciss’ burst into the box resulted in the early penalty as he was recklessly taken out by Mohamed Abdelmonem. But Mane’s spot kick was a poor one too close to Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski, who comfortably beat the ball away.
Not deterred by the miss, Senegal were doing most of the early attacking. Ismaila Sarr put a couple of dangerous balls across the box, while Salah at the other end was largely a spectator as the first 25 minutes zipped by quickly.
When Salah did stir, a mazy dribble was followed by a tame shot easily saved by Edouard Mendy. Egypt’s plan when getting forward appeared to largely be dedicated to finding the Liverpool man, but Senegal mostly had him well marshalled.
Salah had Egypt’s best chance of the first half in the closing stages, bringing a top save out of Mendy. Cheikou Kouyate had Gabaski scrambling at the other end with a low drive that narrowly missed.
Gabaski was in action again early in the second half, twice bravely taking the ball off the toe of Famara Diedhiou and also from Mane in the six-yard box.
With Senegal failing to take their opportunities, Egypt grew stronger, although the number of clear chances for either side dried up as the clock ticked towards 90.
Gabaski continued his heroics in extra-time to deny impressive substitute Bamba Dieng with top saves on multiple occasions – all different types of stops to boot.
Here are your player ratings…
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 8/10 – Made saves when he needed to, including one from Salah near the end of the first half and one from Hamdy in extra-time.
Bouna Sarr (RB) – 6/10 – Limited what Egypt could create down his flank. Missed in the penalty shootout.
Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – 7/10 – Always in control and led his team well. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Abdou Diallo (CB) – 7/10 – Took a yellow for a cynical foul on Salah. An aerial threat in both penalty areas. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Salious Ciss (LB) – 7/10 – Excellent burst forward won the early penalty was the first action. Good delivery from wide.
Nampalys Mendy (CM) – 7/10 – Carried a yellow card for most of the game but rarely gave the ball away and won it back well.
Idrissa Gueye (CM) – 5/10 – Not effective enough as the more creative of the midfield three.
Cheikhou Kouyate (CM) – 6/10 – Did most of his work off the ball in a destructive capacity, winning the ball back.
Ismaila Sarr (RW) – 5/10 – Looked bright with a couple of first half crosses but faded from the game after the interval.
Famara Diedhiou (ST) – 5/10 – Got a few sniffs of chances in and around the six-yard box early in the second half.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 6/10 – Should have given his team an early lead but his penalty was a poor one. Surprisingly struggled to make things happen, but he kept his cool when it mattered. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Pape Gueye (CM) – 6/10 – Like for like swap for Kouyate.
Boulaye Dia (RW) – 4/10 – Didn’t see much of the ball.
Bamba Dieng (ST) – 7/10 – Big goal threat and went close three times in extra-time but was denied at every turn by good saves. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Gabaski (GK) – 10/10 – Saved the early penalty with strong hands and it set the tone his very impressive performance. Made big saves for 120 minutes. Impossible to fault him.
Emam Ashour (RB) – 8/10 – Filling in an unfavoured position but coped admirably well against Mane.
Mohamed Abdelmonem (CB) – 7/10 – Let off the hook by his goalkeeper after a reckless tackle resulted in the early penalty. Very solid thereafter. Missed in the penalty shootout.
El-Wensh (CB) – 8/10 – Needed to to cut out a low first half cross that would have led to a certain goal. Generally strong in the tackle.
Fatouh (LB) – 7/10 – Became more adventurous in getting forward in the second half and put in some good crosses.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) – 6/10 – Passed it well, albeit mostly in his own half, but was important off the ball and won it back more than once.
Hamdy Fathy (CM) – 5/10 – Walked a tightrope following a first half yellow card and was lucky to stay on the pitch after repeated fouls.
Amr El Soleya (CM) – 5/10 – Visibly unhappy to be taken off before the hour mark. Had passed it reasonably well but was far too safe.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 5/10 – Unsurprisingly Egypt’s greatest threat. Didn’t see enough of the ball, which was a shame. Was naively down to take Egypt’s fifth penalty in the shootout but it didn’t get to him.
Mostafa Mohamed (ST) – 4/10 – Didn’t really do much and never gave Senegal a problem. Lasted less than an hour.
Omar Marmoush (LW) – 4/10 – Similar to Mohamed, taken off early.
Trezeguet (LW) – 6/10 – Competed well. Had a chance in extra-time.
Zizo (CM) – 7/10 – Added much needed extra quality in midfield. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Marwan Hamdy (ST) – 6/10 – Offered a more direct threat up front and was dangerous in the air. Forced a save from Mendy late in extra-time. Scored in the penalty shootout.
Mohanad Lasheen (CM) – 5/10 – Fresh legs in midfield. Missed in the penalty shootout.