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Senegal won the first title in its history – AFCON

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Mané made history big: Senegal won its first African Cup of Nations and the Liverpool striker converted the decisive penalty. The wait was eternal and the Senegalese celebrated, but football is wonderful and Egypt will have their revenge in a month when the entry for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is defined.

By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).

Senegal was crowned champion of the African Cup for the first time in its history in a penalty shootout that sealed 4-2 and after equalizing at zero in regulation and extra time.

Sadio Mané went down in history when he sealed the conquest of the first African Cup of Nations for Senegal.

The match ended goalless, but the emotions began early: barely 3 minutes were played and Saliou Ciss dangerously entered the Egyptian area from the left, but Mohamed Abdel Monem recklessly brought him down so that referee Victor Gomes awarded a penalty.

There was one of the best images of the match: Mané was about to kick the maximum penalty and Mohamed Salah, his teammate in Liverpool, approached to give an indication to the goalkeeper Gabaski.

The Senegalese striker made some gesture, neither dissatisfied nor angry, and when he shot he collided with the immensity of Gabaski, Egypt’s figure in this tournament, who deflected his shot and denied the goal cry.

The first half was intense, although the goal situations were conspicuous by their absence: the only clear ones were those of the missed penalty and a great left-footed shot by Salah that goalkeeper Edouard Mendy deflected to the corner with effort.

Even with the score at 0-0, the balance of merit was more inclined in favor of Senegal, which exhibited more ambition in search of its first consecration in this competition.

Egypt – as it was throughout the African Cup of Nations, where it had three goalless draws with definitions on penalties – was more cautious in its offensive movements and only sought to scare with Salah’s individualities.

Midway through the second half, Egypt took possession of the ball and began to drive it harder, but all too far from the goal.

With the passing of the minutes, the fear of not losing was gaining the arm wrestling over the desire to win and the minutes passed with a discreet development of the game.

With the 0-0 tattooed, the only one who had chances was Senegal: towards the end of the regulation 90 he had an option with a volley from Ahmadou Dieng, the same striker, already in extra time, had two chances that Gabaski took out to enlarge his figure.

The penalty shootout had a preview that left Mo Salah exposed: the Egyptian won the toss, but decided to let Senegal kick first – something the statistics do not support – and scored to be fifth in Egypt’s list.

Fate did not play a good trick on Salah because he did not even kick in his turn and the decision in the order of shot made his team take the pressure on.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo and Dieng scored his names in Senegal’s great history before Mané converted the decisive penalty to win his first African Cup of Nations.

This title will go down in history, but there is a name that went unnoticed: Aliou Cissé, coach of Senegal, was the one who missed the decisive penalty kick in his country’s first final during the 2002 tournament, leading the Senegalese to reach the final of 2019 and, as the famous saying goes, the third time was the charm.

Senegal celebrated in its country and throughout the world where its people have emigrated, but Egypt will have its revenge in a month when both teams face each other to define who will go to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 because football is so cruel that there will only be room for a team.


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