The dreams of Egypt’s veteran goalkeeper to left a fifth AFCON title came crashing like a pack of cards as Cameroon beat the North Africa side 2-1 in a dramatic final of the AFCON 2017 in Libreville, Gabon to win their fifth title on the continent.
Cameroon had Vincent Aboubakar to thank for this victory as they had to come from a goal down to lift the trophy after Arsenal star Mohamed Elnery gave Egypt her opening goal but Nicolas N’Koulou levelled things up on the hour mark before Vincent Aboubakar scored a stunning late winner to fire the underdogs to glory.
Egypt, winners of the competition the last three times they have participated in it, could have taken the lead in the opening exchanges when Mohamed Salah played a clever pass through to Abdallah El-Said, but Fabrice Ondoa was equal to the effort.
The Cameroon keeper should have done better when the opening goal eventually arrived, though, as Salah played in Elneny down the right channel and the Arsenal man managed to squeeze his shot past Ondoa at the near post despite having very little of the goal to aim at.
Cameroon struggled to come up with a response to falling behind, but the Indomitable Lions improved in the second half and levelled things up on the hour mark when N’Koulou – on as a sub in the first half for the injured Adolphe Teikeu – planted a header home from close range.
It was just the second time in the entire tournament that 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary had been beaten, but there was more joy for Cameroon late on as Aboubakar ended their 15-year wait for the title in style, collecting a long ball on his chest before lifting it over one defender and volleying it home.
The final whistle sparked scenes of wild celebration for Cameroon as they became the first team to beat Egypt in the final of this competition since 1962, picking up their fifth crown in the process.
In the third place game, Alain Traore hammered home an 89th-minute free kick to ensure a medal for Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations as they beat Ghana 1-0 on Saturday night to gain some consolation for a bitter semi-final defeat.
Ghana played in the bronze-medal match for the third time in the last four editions, but have lost each one.