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Sadio Mane made up for missing from the spot in normal time to score the decisive penalty as Senegal overcame Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 4-2 in a shoot-out to win their first Africa Cup of Nations title after Sunday’s final finished goalless at the end of extra time.

Mane had seen Mohamed Abou Gabal save his seventh-minute penalty at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde but Egypt could not capitalise as they went to extra time for the fourth consecutive game at this Cup of Nations.

Salah was due to step up to take Egypt’s fifth penalty but with Mohamed Abdelmonem hitting the post and Mohanad Lasheen having his kick saved by Edouard Mendy, the Liverpool star did not get his chance and was already on the verge of tears as his club team-mate Mane prepared to strike the decisive blow.

After two previous final defeats, Senegal are Cup of Nations winners at last, while Egypt missed out on a record-extending eighth continental crown that would also have been a first for Salah.

“It just shows that if you work hard, if you persevere, you will get what you want,” Senegal coach Aliou Cisse told broadcaster beIN Sports.

“I am very emotional because the people of Senegal have wanted this trophy for 60 years.”

Abou Gabal, who was named man of the match, summed up the Egyptian mood, saying: “We are really disappointed but that’s football, either you win or you lose.”

Senegal’s celebrations followed a disappointing final, the fifth in the last 11 editions of the tournament to be decided in a shoot-out after a goalless draw.

Egypt had already twice won finals that had been settled on penalties after finishing 0-0, and they had already won in the same manner twice in the last fortnight, against the Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

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Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal pulled off two spectacular saves as Egypt edged hosts Cameroon 3-1 in the penalty shootout to reach the final of Africa Cup of Nations following a goalless draw after extra time on Thursday.

Cameroon converted only one of their four spot-kicks, with Gabal blocking two of the strikes before Clinton Njie missed his attempt. Egypt converted all three of their kicks.

Egypt will be aiming to win a record-extending eighth Cup of Nations title when they face Senegal in Sunday’s final.

But they will be without coach Carlos Queiroz, who is suspended for the final after being sent off in Thursday’s second half for persistent touchline petulance

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Mohamed Salah will go head-to-head with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane for Africa Cup of Nations glory after Egypt joined Senegal in the final by beating Cameroon on penalties.

The Pharaohs won the shoot-out 3-1 after 120 goalless minutes in the semi-final as Cameroon’s hopes of winning a sixth title on home soil came to an end.

Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski was the hero, saving penalties from Harold Moukoudi and James Lea Siliki, while former Tottenham man Clinton N’Jie missed the target.

It meant Salah was not even needed in the shoot-out as Egypt, who also won on penalties in the last 16 against Ivory Coast, moved one win away from a first Africa Cup of Nations title since 2010.

They will contest Sunday’s final against Senegal with coach Carlos Queiroz in the stands after he was shown a red card in the second half.

Things could have been different had Cameroon scored during a rampant opening.

They dominated early on and came within inches of taking the lead inside the opening 20 minutes.

Defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui climbed highest from a corner, but his effort hit the angle of the crossbar and post and then Vincent Aboubakar put the rebound agonisingly wide.

Former Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa had a chance when he flicked wide, before another golden opportunity presented itself to Ngadeu-Ngadjui as a ball into the box fell kindly at his feet, but he could not get a shot away.

Egypt started the second half better and Salah had a chance he would usually gobble up.

He went through on goal but was denied by Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana as he tried to round him.

The hosts regained the dominance and Karl Toko Ekambi was almost the hero when he flicked a cross towards goal and Gabaski did well to get down and save it.

As the game headed towards the end of the regulation 90 minutes, both teams lost energy and discipline and that spread to the touchline.

Egypt boss Queiroz, who had just been booked by referee Bakary Gassama, was furious after he thought he saw an elbow from a Cameroon player on one of his charges and was sent to the stands for his trouble.

Extra time was low on quality, with Cameroon coming closest as Gabaski spilled N’Jie’s cross, but he escaped and then came good as the game went to penalties.

Aboubakar scored Cameroon’s first penalty, but that was as good as it got as Moukoudi, Siliki and N’Jie missed consecutive kicks to send Egypt through, condemning the hosts to a third-place play-off with Burkina Faso.

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Achraf Hakimi scored a brilliant free kick to send Morocco through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-1 win over Malawi on Tuesday.

Gabadinho Mhango gave outsiders Malawi, playing their first knock-out game at the tournament, a shock early lead with a stunning goal from 40 metres at Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium.

But Youssef En-Nesyri headed Morocco level in first-half stoppage time before Hakimi drilled in the winner on 70 minutes to set up a meeting with Egypt or Ivory Coast in the last eight.

When you win you get respect,” said Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

“Malawi scored a fantastic goal. I think we played really well in the first half, unfortunately we lacked efficiency. We had around 10 chances you can’t miss.

“But I was always confident. The team was upset but I knew at some point we would score a second goal. We controlled the match and we more than deserve to qualify.”

Morocco’s quarter-final tie was due to take place at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde but will be moved after a fatal crush outside the ground on Monday, which killed eight people and injured 38.

As with the earlier match between Senegal and Cape Verde in Bafoussam, a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off and players of both teams wore black armbands.

Morocco, bidding for a second Cup of Nations title and first since 1976, fell behind on seven minutes when Mhango caught Yassine Bounou off his line with a superb long-range strike.

The Atlas Lions responded by creating a series of chances as Imran Louza stung the palms of Charles Thomu, who then did well to keep out Hakimi’s powerful free-kick and the follow-up from Louza.

Mhango dragged wide for Malawi after a terrific long ball from Micium Mhone, but the Flames found themselves under sustained pressure as Morocco captain Romain Saiss volleyed against the bar.

En-Nesyri prodded weakly at Thomu from close range before the Malawi goalkeeper tipped Hakimi’s low drive on to the post and then denied Sofiane Boufal with his legs.

Morocco were finally rewarded for their persistence on the stroke of half-time as En-Nesyri rose to power Selim Amallah’s deep cross past Thomu.

Hakimi appealed for a penalty in the second half when his cross struck the arm of Malawi defender Dennis Chembezi, but the Paris Saint-Germain star took matters into his own hands to secure victory.

His late equaliser against Gabon had secured top spot in the group stage, and Hakimi delivered again with another magnificent free-kick 20 minutes from time to end Malawi’s impressive run.

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been knocked out of the ongoing 33rd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after losing their Round 16 match to Tunisia yesterday.

Youssef Msakni was the hero of the match with his spectacular long-range effort in the second half proved to be the difference between the two perennial foes.

Super Eagles were reduced to ten men after second-half substitute Alex Iwobi was sent off in the 65th minute while another substitute, Sadiq Umar came closest to drawing the Super Eagles late on.

Nigeria dominated most of the possession in the first half but failed to make it count with no clear chance created.

The defeat came after President Muhammadu Buhari made a video call to the team, urging them to sustain their winning momentum at the competition following their 100 percent feat in the group stage.

The President, who had the Sports Minister Sunday Dare beside him while speaking to the players, mentioned Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon by name and urged the team to continue making Nigerians happy by not only winning the second round match against Tunisia, but to eventually lift the trophy.

“I want to thank you for what you have done for the nation so far. You have to keep winning. Nigerians are proud of you,” President Buhari said.

“You have demonstrated patriotic zeal and a high level of discipline, determination and commitment in all the games you have played so far and that is why we all are happy with you.”

He had also assured the team of continued support. “The Government will continue to support you within available resources at our disposal.”

Nigeria expectedly started the strongest and had the first effort of the game when a fortuitous bicycle kick from Wilfred Ndidi went wide early on.

In the 10th minute, Tunisia, who were without seven of their players and the manager due to COVID-19, had the game’s only real chance in the opening 45 minutes but Nigeria’s defence was alert to clear from the line.

A very cautious start to the second match in the round of 16 ends with nothing to separate the two Eagles at the break.

Two minutes after the start of the second half, Tunisia took a shock lead after an Ola Aina mistake. Yourself Msakni took advantage, evaded a Nigerian defender before letting fly from outside the box a shot that goalkeeper Maduka Okoye parried into his net to give Tunisia a 1-0 lead.

The Carthage Eagles grew in confidence after that goal and took control of the game and therefor held on for the win to qualify for the last eight where they will face Burkina Faso who edged out Gabon 7-6 on penalties – after a 1-1 draw – in an epic round of 16 clash at the Limbe Stadium on Sunday evening.

The Stallions really should have won the game in regulation time, having enjoyed a lead established through Bertrand Traore for over an hour (and against a team which was reduced to 10 men), but the Panthers simply refused to be beaten and sent the game to extra time a penalty shootout which went nine rounds before they were finally put away.

Gabon created most of the early play, but did not fashion any clear chances with which to test Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi.

The Stallions then won a debatable penalty on 14 minutes, with Issa Kabore’s powerful run down the right ended by a challenge from Sidney Obissa, who was adjudged to have pushed over the Burkinabe attacker by Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed.

Bertrand Traore took the spot kick, but his left-footed shot rattled the crossbar and rebounded high into the air before being safely cleared from danger.

Source: Leadership News

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Kelechi Iheanacho overshadowed fellow Premier League stars Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez on Tuesday as Nigeria made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign and title-holders Algeria were held. The Leicester City forward scored the only goal on 30 minutes as Nigeria overcame lacklustre Egypt 1-0 in a clash of Group D big guns in the northwestern city of Garoua. His match winner and overall performance earned Iheanacho the man-of-the-match award on a day when prolific Liverpool scorer Salah and Manchester City winger Mahrez failed to sparkle.

Captain Salah cut an isolated, frustrated, figure at the Stade Roumde Adjia and when he did get a scoring chance in the second half, his prod was saved by the boot of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

It was an otherwise uneventful evening for the Nigeria shot-stopper, who must have anticipated being called into action more often against the record seven-time African champions.

“We had three things in mind — winning, retaining possession and cutting off the supply to Salah,” said Nigeria caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen.

“Every game will be treated like a final because each team in Cameroon must be respected regardless of the name of the country. There are no minor football nations anymore in Africa so if you do not plan and make the effort, you can be shocked,” he added.

This was the eighth meeting of the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs in the flagship African tournament and three-time champions Nigeria have won four and drawn two.

Nigeria succeeded after a troubled build-up in which German coach Gernot Rohr was fired following an unimpressive World Cup qualifying run and former national star Eguavoen took temporary charge.

Eguavoen’s squad was without forwards Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo for a variety of reasons, but his team went on the offensive from the kick-off and did him proud.

Speedy winger Moses Simon played a major role when the Super Eagles took the lead at the 30,000-capacity stadium.

His cross was only partially cleared by Ahmed Hegazy and Nigerian Joseph Aribo nodded the ball into the path of Iheanacho, who hammered a half-volley past goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy.

After the later Group D match Guinea-Bissau are still without a win in three Cup of Nations appearances as Judilson ‘Pele’ Gomes missed a penalty and the woodwork saved Sudan twice in a 0-0 draw.

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Algeria began their defence of the Africa Cup of Nations title with an underwhelming 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone in Douala on Tuesday, as Riyad Mahrez’s side struggled to break down one of the tournament’s rank outsiders.

Qatar-based winger Yacine Brahimi missed the holders’ best chance early in the second half, when he found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat, only for Mohamed Kamara to hold his shot at the second attempt.

The draw allows Algeria to extend their remarkable unbeaten run in competitive action to 35 games, but it also means their chief Group E rivals Ivory Coast can seize the initiative by beating Equatorial Guinea at the same venue on Wednesday.

The heat and humidity of a mid-afternoon kick-off at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroon’s economic capital undoubtedly didn’t help, but Sierra Leone deserve enormous credit for their display in their first appearance at the Cup of Nations finals in 25 years.

Ranked 108th in the world, they were bolstered by the presence of former England international Steven Caulker in central defence, while China-based Mohamed Buya Turay was lively on the left wing.

They can be hopeful of building on this result to advance to the last 16, with the best third-placed sides progressing from the group stage in what is now a 24-team competition.

John Keister’s team were backed by a vociferous support inside the stadium, although the overall attendance in the 50,000-seat ground may barely have reached four figures.

Alhaji Kamara, who plays for Danish side Randers, came close with an early snapshot for Sierra Leone, while Turay also tested Rais M’Bolhi in the first half.

Kamara then had an effort disallowed for offside after the break before Brahimi’s gilt-edged miss at the other end.

With Mahrez lacking inspiration, it was left to West Ham United’s Said Benrahma to drag a shot wide late on, shortly after coming off the bench, while Ramy Bensebaini was also denied by Kamara at the death.

Algeria, who defeated Senegal in the 2019 final, face Equatorial Guinea in their next game on Sunday.

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Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal seized on a loose ball to score seven minutes from time and secure a 1-0 win over Ghana in their opening Group C match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

Boufal hammered home from close range after a mazy run into the penalty area from Zakaria Aboukhlal that saw him tease the Ghana defence, only to be checked by Thomas Partey, with the ball then running perfectly for Boufal to score.

The goal came from a rare chance in a game where both sides showed defensive prowess but did little to impress in attack.

Both countries are looking to end a long wait for success in the continental championship but showed little early sign of making an impact at the tournament in Cameroon, admittedly after disrupted preparations.

Boufal’s goal did open up a cagey affair and Morocco had two more decent chances as captain Romain Saiss headed wide after an 87th minute free kick and then in stoppage time Ghana’s keeper Joe Wollacott stopped a blistering shot from close range.

Until then, there had only been two opportunities for Ghana.

Joseph Paintsil hit a goal-bound shot towards the top corner in the 70th minute only for Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to turn the effort around the post.

Ghana also had a good set-piece opportunity in the 31st minute but Partey fired his free kick over the bar.

The victory extended to 10 matches Morocco’s winning streak, including all six World Cup qualifiers played between September and November.

Morocco won their only Cup of Nations title in 1976 while Ghana are four-time African champions — the last time in 1982.

The Comoros Islands, making their debut at the tournament, and Gabon play in the second Group C match also in Yaounde later on Monday.

Morocco next play Comoros on Friday followed by Ghana against Gabon in the late game.

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Napoli have suffered a huge blow in their chase for the Serie A title with star striker Victor Osimhen ruled out for three months with a facial injury, meaning he will miss the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria as well.

Osimhen, 22, sustained fractures to his cheekbone and eye socket during Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by Inter Milan after clashing heads with defender Milan Skriniar.

The Italian side said on Tuesday that the centre forward has undergone surgery on the injury, and will be out for three months as a result.

Osimhen has scored nine goals in 14 appearances for Napoli this season, and his injury serves as a devastating blow for the Serie A leaders, who top the table by goal difference after 13 games.

‘On Tuesday morning, Victor Osimhen was operated on his cheekbone and eye socket by Gianpaolo Tartaro, who was assisted by Dr Mario Santagata with Dr Raffaele Canonico also present,’ the club announced.

‘Titanium plates and screws were used in the operation. The player is doing well and will remain under observation for the next few days.

‘Osimhen is expected to return to action in three months.’

The 22-year-old was the joint top scorer in qualifying for the delayed AFCON tournament with five goals, and has been linked with a switch to the Premier League in recent years.

Arsenal and Chelsea were strongly linked with a move for the striker before Napoli landed their man in a deal worth £74million from French side Lille in 2020.

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Mali and Tunisia added their names to the list of countries qualified for the next Africa Cup of Nations finals on Tuesday, joining holders Algeria and 2019 runners-up Senegal who had booked their berths over the last two days.

Mali made sure of a top two finish in Group A after a 2-1 win in Namibia, where Sekou Koita and Moussa Doumbia scored in the first half, while Tunisia’s 1-1 draw in Tanzania was enough to ensure they will finish in the top two in Group J.

Tunisia will go to the finals in Cameroon in 2022 for a 15th successive time.

Egypt and Morocco also moved closer to qualifying after producing positive performances on the road on Tuesday.

Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech was again a major influence as they won 2-0 away to the Central African Republic and are now a point off qualifying from Group E.

Ziyech’s 39th minute free kick sailed into the net from outside the box and, while team mate Nayef Aguerd claimed he got a faint touch, it looked as if the effort went straight in without any assistance and Ziyech was credited with the goal.

The new Chelsea signing then turned provider in a final minute breakaway, finished off by Youssef En Nesyri.

Egypt, who are seeking a record-extending 25th appearance at a Cup of Nations finals, are also on the cusp of qualifying in Group G after a 3-1 away win over Togo.

Ghana could have qualified but came unstuck against Sudan in Khartoum where Mohamed Abdelrahman scored in stoppage time for a 1-0 win to put the hosts back in contention for a top two place.

Ghana have nine points and share top spot in Group C with South Africa, while Sudan are only three points behind.

Nigeria were held for the second time in five days by Sierra Leone, this time a tepid 0-0 stalemate in Freetown in contrast to Sierra Leone’s thrilling comeback in last Friday’s 4-4 draw.

Nigeria top Group L by one point ahead of Benin, who drew 0-0 away to Lesotho earlier on Tuesday, while the other two countries have two points each.

Pacesetters Madagascar and Ivory Coast have seven points in Group K after their 1-1 draw in Antananarivo but Ethiopia are only one point behind having hammered visitors Niger 3-0.

Democratic Republic of Congo won 1-0 away to neighbours Angola in Luanda after Neeskens Kebano’s mazy run and accurate finish from outside the penalty area in the 63rd minute.

The result revived the Congolese chances of qualifying as they are now just a point behind Gambia and Gabon in Group D.

The last two rounds of preliminaries will be played in March. The top two in each group advance to the finals except in Group F where only the highest placed team besides Cameroon, qualified as hosts but playing in the preliminaries, qualifies.