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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Egypt’s Salah will come back stronger after Senegal defeat – Mane

14:03 GMT+3 07/02/2022
Sadio Mane of Senegal and Egypt captain Mohamed Salah.
The 29-year-old Lion of Teranga describes his Liverpool compatriot as a champion who will not be bothered with the defeat in the final

Senegal forward Sadio Mane has backed Egypt’s Mohamed Salah to come back stronger after they suffered a 4-2 penalty defeat in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

The two Liverpool players came face to face in the 33rd edition's final at Olembe Stadium and it was Mane who had the last laugh after converting the decisive penalty that handed the Lions of Teranga their first-ever Afcon title.

The two teams were tied 0-0 after 120 minutes of play and the game was decided by penalties. After Egypt’s Mohamed Abdelmonem saw his penalty hit the left-hand upright, their goalkeeper Gabaski reacted immediately to deny Bouna Sarr.

However, Chelsea's Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy denied Mohanad Lasheen, and it was Mane, who took the decisive spot-kick to seal his country’s victory, denying Salah the chance as Egypt’s fifth penalty taker.

When asked what message he had for Salah after the defeat, Mane told GOAL: “I just said he knows more, he is a champion and he knows today this defeat will not bother him too much because it is not the first time and it is part of the game.

“So it can happen and if it happens I know he is very strong will come back stronger.”

At the end of the final whistle, Mane took his time to embrace the heartbroken Salah while his teammates were still celebrating winning the trophy.

The decision to have Salah line up for the fifth penalty has already sparked a lot of debate with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, arguing it was not the best decision from Egypt.

“That is why your best penalty taker should never go fifth,” Carragher wrote on his social media pages. “Salah not taking a penalty for Egypt in a shootout in a final is madness.”

Mane and Salah will now head back to Liverpool but they will likely miss the next league game against Leicester City on Thursday at Anfield but could be ready to face Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.