Sadio Mané's successful penalty kicks in Yaounde on Sunday gave Senegal their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) against his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah's Egypt (0-0 , 4-2).
Sadio Mané, who has just been crowned African champion and voted the best player of this edition, did not forget to comfort Mohamed Salah, who was in tears at the end of the match. Together they took their club to the top with a Champions League win in 2019.
The pair were happy at club level but were also unfortunate finalists at the CAN with their respective national teams. In 2017 against Cameroon (2-1) for the Egyptian, in 2019 against Algeria (1-0) for the Senegalese.
In Yaounde, Sunday evening, the two 29-year-old players were facing each other at kick-off. But after extra time and penalties, it was Sadio Mané who won his first CAN. The first for his country too.
Sadio Mané, author of a very good CAN with three goals and two assists, and Senegal were the first to shine in the first half of the final. In the third minute, Sadio Mané tried to break through before being caught by Mohamed Abdelmonem. The Egyptian defender could do nothing about Saliou Cisse's breakthrough minutes later, however, and his missed tackle gave the Lions of Teranga a penalty.
As Sadio Mané approached the penalty spot, Mo Salah came over to give goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal some advice, before his Liverpool team-mate got involved in the conversation and confused the keeper.
But it was "Gabaski", already a hero against Côte d'Ivoire in the last 16 and Cameroon in the semi-finals, who emerged victorious from the one-on-one encounter by saving Sadio Mané's powerful but slightly too axial shot (7th). I'm not sure I'll be able to make it to the next round, but I'm sure I'll be able to make it to the next round," he said, "I'm sure I'll be able to make it to the next round.
It was the first time that a team like the Pharaohs had been able to win a match at the African Cup of Nations, and it was the first time that a team like the Pharaohs had been able to win a match at the African Cup of Nations, and it was the first time that a team like the Pharaohs had been able to win a match at the African Cup of Nations. The Pharaohs' leader, who has already played three extra sessions, had to wait until the half-hour mark to make his mark, shooting from the edge of the area but without danger for Edouard Mendy (28th).
The Egyptian striker's first chance of the game came just before the break when he was sent clear of Abdou Diallo. But the Egyptian found Edouard Mendy again, who did a great job of keeping the ball off the crossbar (43'). The Egyptians had to wait until the second half for Sadio Mané, Idrissa Gueye and Famara Diedhiou to break through the Gabaski defence, but they were unable to do so.
Sadio Mané tried to deliver his team, but Mo Salah was very discreet. It's a good thing that we've got a lot of good players," he said, "but we're not going to be able to get the ball out of the back of the net. The Egyptians had to wait until extra time for the game to get back into the game, when goalkeeper Gabaski saved three attempts from Bamba Dieng (91st, 99th, 114th).
In the penalty shoot-out, after two Egyptian failures, it was Sadio Mané who won the title for his side. This time, the Senegalese striker did not fail. The Senegalese striker did not fail this time, with Mo Salah watching from the sidelines as his club team-mate's winning shot ended the session.
Sadio Mané had said before the tournament that he would trade everything he had earned at club level to lift an African Cup of Nations with Senegal. He was so eager to touch the trophy that he had to be kept away from it when the medals were presented.
He had to wait for Senegal's captain, Kalidou Koulibaly, to go to the VIP area to officially receive the trophy in the presence of Cameroon's president Paul Biya, Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Sadio Mané and Mo Salah will soon meet again in Liverpool as they attempt to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League in mid-February and then meet again in March for the African play-offs for the World Cup.
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