Cameroon came from behind on Sunday to secure a 2-1 victory against Egypt and overcome a 15-year wait to be named the champions of Africa.
The victory marks the first time the Indomitable Lions have defeated Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final in three attempts. They are now the second most successful nation in competition history behind Egypt.
The Pharaohs looked to be on their way to an eighth title after Mohamed Elneny’s opener.
The Arsenal midfielder received a ball into the box from winger Mohamed Salah before roofing it past Fabrice Ondoa at his near post.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the second half, Egypt decided to go about the second half in a more defensive manner. They began sitting back and allowing the Cameroonians to continuously pressure their defense. It cost them dearly.
Cameroon’s dangerous Benjamin Moukandjo was involved when he curled a promising cross into the 18-yard box where substitute defender Nicolas Nkoulou showed his strength powering his way above the Egyptian defense to nod the ball past veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.
With 30 minutes remaining on the clock after Nkoulou’s power header, the game took an exciting turn. Both teams were prepared to give it all they had left in the tank, but Cameroon looked the better side.
The Indomitable Lions were able to pin Egypt back by pouring on attack after attack. Both Christian Bassogog and Jacques Zoua inspired the Cameroonian attack by constantly pressuring the Egyptian backline. Egypt found themselves limited to playing long balls trying to spring Salah and substitute Ramadan Sobhi into attack.
As fatigue began to set in, Cameroon proved to be the side with something extra in the tank. After increased pressure on the Egyptian goal, the Indomitable Lions pounced two minutes from time with striker Vincent Aboubakar providing the heroics.
The Beşiktaş striker produced some incredible skill when he took a long ball down with his chest on the edge of the 18-yard box, flicked it over an Egyptian defender and somehow found enough space, with three defenders surrounding him, to slot the ball to the right of the goalkeeper.
The goal clearly meant so much to Aboubakar and the entire Cameroon squad as players and coaches chased the striker down to celebrate with the Cameroonian fans.
In the end, Cameroon’s attacking pressure proved to be too much for Egypt’s defense, which has been formidable throughout their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
Belgian coach Hugo Broos celebrated his first Africa Cup of Nations trophy citing that his Cameroonian side was something special.
“This is not a group of football players, this is a group of friends,” said Broos.
Cameroon’s victory also means that they will be the side representing Africa at this summers 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. They will be placed in Group B of the competition and face South American champions Chile, Asian Cup winners Australia and world champions Germany.