Handed a chance of redemption, Senegal forward Sadio Mane didn’t pass up the opportunity to make history for his country.
Having missed a penalty early on in the African Cup of Nations final against Egypt on Sunday at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Mane struck the decisive spot-kick in a tense shootout as Senegal won its first ever continental championship against the seven-time winner of the tournament.
Mane’s miss came in the seventh minute when the Liverpool star’s powerful penalty was saved in spectacular fashion by goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal, also known as Gabaski, who had a superb game for Egypt.
Neither team was able to break through during the first 90 minutes, with Senegal in control for most of the game, though Egypt gained momentum late in the second half.
After 30 minutes of extra time, which featured a pair of stellar saves from Gabaski and Senegalese keeper Edouard Mendy, the game moved to penalty kicks.
Both teams spurned a penalty each before Mendy saved Mohanad Lasheen’s spot-kick to set up Mané’s moment of redemption.
This time the 29-year-old Liverpool star made no mistake, thumping the ball past Gabaski to give Senegal a 4-2 win on penalties.
Mane’s decisive penalty sparked joyous scenes of celebration among the Senegal squad, though the Liverpool forward found time to console club teammate Mo Salah.
The tournament was completed in the shadow of the deadly stadium crush where at least eight people were killed and 38 injured during the game between Cameroon and Comoros on January 24 outside the Olembe Stadium.
The AFCON finalists are due to play two-legged play-off in March to decide which country will to go the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.