In a certainly atypical story, without enjoying the prominence that he expected in the field, Sadio Mane emerged as the true hero of Senegal in the penalty shootout of the final of the African Cup of Nations 2022. The crack of Liverpool, who missed a penalty in the first minutes of the game, waited until the last in the definition of the title from 12 steps and, in the midst of the tension that that moment represented, the Senegalese ’10’ did not miss again in order to win the first title with his team.
Every effort has its rewards. That is what Mané has experienced in Cameroon. Already in 2019 he had had his first chance to win the African Cup, but his success did not accompany him: However, in this 2022 he did not miss his revenge.
Against the Egypt of Mohamed Salah, his partner in Liverpool, he had to fight for consecration. And it was not easy at all.
After seven minutes, Mané had the chance to put Senegal up on the scoreboard with a 12-step execution, but missed. Still, he did not lower his arms and kept fighting until the end. Having drawn goalless in regulation and extra time, everything had to be decided in the penalty shootout.
Édouard Mendy’s key save on Egypt’s fourth run gave needed confidence to Sadio Mane to become the protagonist of history with Senegal’s fifth penalty. So, he did not disappoint again. With nerves of steel, the Senegalese ’10′ was able to score and genuinely celebrated his first title representing his country.
The closest that the ‘Leones de Teranga’ were to consecrating themselves previously in the contest was in 2002 and 2019, which ended up being runners-up.
However, ‘curses’ are meant to be broken and Sadio Mané has been the great leader that Senegal needed so much.
In addition, it was a personal revenge for coach Aliou Cissé. 20 years ago they defined the title with Cameroon from penalties and he missed one of the shots. Now, from the bank, he was able to erase that bad memory.
For its part, Mohammed Salah He continues with the thorn stuck with his selection. So far, ‘Mo’ has failed to lift a trophy with Egypt, despite the fact that they are the most successful in African Cup history with seven titles. Of course, Salah was close to being crowned champion in 2017, but lost the final against Cameroon (2-1).
– A preview of the World Cup –
The bitter duel between Senegal Y Egypt This Sunday has represented a foretaste of what will be the fight between the two teams to go to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Mané’s and Salah’s men have scheduled two important clashes in March to define one of the classifieds for the most important contest at the level of selections.
It is necessary to point out that the goalkeeper of the ‘Pharaohs’, Mohamed Abou Gabal, was one of the great figures of the match with a total of eight saves for his team, according to data from SofaScore, counting the penalty that saved none other than Sadio Mané. He was always attentive to save his own, but he could not avoid the defeat in the shootout.
Many things can remain the same in a little over a month. On March 23 they will meet in Cairo and the rematch will be on the 29th in Dakar.
Taking into account what happened in the clash this Sunday, the classification could be for either of the two teams. Of course, those of Mané have the support of being continental champions ahead.