Egypt deserved to win Nations Cup, says tearful Abou-Gabal

Egypt keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal said his side had deserved to the African Nations Cup title following their shootout loss to Senegal in Sunday's final, saying they are determined to make amends when both teams clash again in the World Cup qualifiers.

Ahram Online , Monday 7 Feb 2022,
Egypt s goalkeeper Mohamed Abogabal reacts in a penalty shoot-out during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 final football match between Senegal and Egypt at Stade d Olembe in Yaounde on February 6, 2022. AFP

The Pharaohs lost 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw to miss out on a record-extending eighth crown.

Abou-Gabal, who was only drafted in after first-choice keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi sustained an injury in the round of 16 clash against Cote d'Ivoire, was instrumental in helping Egypt reach the final.

His spot-kick heroics saw Egypt defeat Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon (in the semi final) and he was also impressive against Senegal, keeping them at bay with a series of superb stops.

He blocked an early penalty from Sadio Mane and denied three near-certain goals from substitute Bamba Dieng in extra time. He also saved a penalty from Bouna Sarr in the shootout but it was enough.

 "We deserved to win the game. It is so difficult … It was the dream of all the team," a tearful Abou-Gabal told beIN Sports after the game.

"Being the man of the match is useless for me after losing the title."

Egypt will still have a chance to make amends when they clash with Senegal in a decisive two-legged World Cup qualifying playoff next month for a place in the Qatar finals.

"We will qualify for the World Cup in Senegal," Abou-Gabal added, referring to the second leg away from home.

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