After a fairly balanced final between Senegal and Egypt (0-0), the final verdict was decided during the penalty shootout. And in this area, it is Senegal that wins the battle. The Senegalese, who failed in 2019, win their first AFCON in their history (0-0, 4-3 after tab)
This Sunday ended the final of the AFCON 2021. A very attractive final on paper between two teams at the antipodes on the African continent. On the one hand, Egypt of Mohamed Salah, behemoth of the continent with 7 AFCON record and who wanted to seek an 8th star. On the other, the Senegal of Sadio Mané, considered the most qualitative workforce on the continent, but have never won any continental trophy in its history. An abnormality. For his second consecutive final as coach of the Teranga Lions, Aliou Cissé decided to field Ismaila Sarr in attack. The Watford striker, who never started a AFCON meeting this year due to injury, was therefore thrown into the deep end. Egyptian side, no surprise in the eleven aligned by Carlos Queiroz.
The start of the match was largely in favour of Senegal, who monopolized the ball. And it only took 3 minutes to have probably the turning point of the match. On one of his many breakthroughs, Saliou Ciss was mowed down in the area by Abdelmonem. Indisputable penalty which star Sadio Mané took care of. The Liverpool striker had chosen to shoot in force in the center but Gabalski had felt the blow and therefore repelled the shot (5th). Despite this big failure, the Senegalese continued to push and Ismaila Sarr was very dangerous on his right lane. But the Egyptian defense held firm. Mohamed Salah was trying to improve the few balls he had to play. He did not go far from the feat before the break but his powerful shot was repelled by Edouard Mendy (42nd).
With already three extensions in the legs, the Egyptians seemed to suffer the blow physically especially with the multiple Senegalese offensives. On the hour mark, Carlos Queiroz also decided to make three changes to breathe new life into his team. And these changes brought immediately as Senegal gradually receded. Zizo, a newcomer, brought more juice to the front of the attack and above all much more availability to support Salah. On one of his serves, he found Mohamed Abdelmonem lonely, but his helmet shot went over the opposing goal. A few minutes later, he served Marwan Hamdy marvelously well but his crossed header just missed Edouard Mendy’s goal.
The last quarter of an hour of the match was very choppy and the two teams seemed rather paralyzed by what was at stake and by the idea of taking a goal in the last moments of the match synonymous with defeat. The score therefore did not move and the referee whistled the end of the match and therefore the start of extra time. The first part of extra time was dominated by Senegal. The incoming Bamba Dieng did not go far from opening the scoring but saw his three strikes being repelled by Gabalski (91st, 100th, 116th). The Egyptian goalkeeper held firm just like Mendy (117th, 118th). The match ended logically in penalties. As a symbol, it was Sadio Mané who offered the first CAN in its history to his country by transforming the last penalty.