Senegal defeated Egypt 4-2 on penalties in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final after the sides couldn't be separated over 120 minutes of scoreless football. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made a fourth-round save to hand Senegal the advantage, and Liverpool talisman Sadio Mane converted the winning spot kick.
The triumph marked Senegal's first AFCON crown.
"We're African champions," Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse said after the match. "It's been long, it's been hard, and there have been complicated moments, but we never gave up.
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"This was a hard match too; we missed the penalty, and there were other chances we weren't able to take, but the boys never abandoned the task.
"This proves the mental strength of this generation."
The drama of the final began unfolding immediately, when Egypt centre-back Mohamed Abdelmonem conceded a penalty just four minutes into the contest. Goalkeeper Mohamed Abougabal would atone for his defender's error, though, saving Mane's effort from the spot to keep the game scoreless.
It would remain that way throughout the 90 minutes. Abougabal made five saves in normal time, with Mendy adding two of his own, as the match headed into extra time at 0-0.
After an additional half hour went scoreless to bring on the shootout, another Abdelmonem mistake almost proved costly for Egypt. In the second round of shooters, the 23-year-old Al Ahly player struck the woodwork, handing the advantage to Senegal. But Abougabal would again come to his team's rescue, saving Bouna Sarr's effort in the third round, after which Marwan Hamdy's conversion put the sides on equal footing once more.
In the fourth round, 2022 FIFA The Best award winner Mendy changed the course of the game, saving Mohanad Lasheen's effort to put Senegal in front once more. And some 2 hours and 40 minutes after having his first-half penalty saved, Mane returned to the spot and slotted home the winner with a right-footed effort.
"It was a long match, and our boys are very tired," Egypt assistant coach Diyaa El-Sayed, standing in for suspended Carlos Queiroz, told ESPN.
"It's the fourth we've played for 120 minutes, and I want to thank the guys for their performance.
"I also want to congratulate Senegal for winning the cup.
"We want to apologise to the Egyptian population, but our boys played well, they put in a lot of effort. This is football."