Published: Mon, February 06, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Cameroon beats Egypt 2-1 and wins AFCON 2017 title

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary has acknowledged that the seven-times African champions did not end their seven-year exile from the Nations Cup with the title in mind, but are now ready to reclaim their crown in Sunday's final against Cameroon.

In the second-half, substitute Nicolas N'Koulou rose highest to head Cameroon level before Aboubakar struck in the final minutes.

And the celebration began soon after.

It was Cameroon's first title since 2002 and denied Egypt a triumphant return to the tournament they last won in 2010.

But an inspired double substitution from coach Hugo Broos turned the final on its head, first Nicolas N'Koulou heading his side back into contention and, with extra time looking a certainty, Aboubakar controlled a long ball from Sebastien Siani before flicking the ball over Ali Gabr and firing home the victor. It has produced some cracking stories, however - none better than Cameroon, whose inexperienced team have marched unexpectedly to the final.

Vincent Aboubakar was the hero of the hour, volleying the victor at the end of the match, which gave Egypt little time to recover.

Congratulations to Cameroon, commiserations to Egypt. Cameroon's offense needs to get off to a faster start if they have a chance to beat Egypt. Egypt's defensive unit has been the team's strength during their AFCON games.

Broos, 63, hinted that the unity within the Indomitable Lions camp is tremendous and it makes his job much easier.

But a Cameroon side that saw many of its better-known players decline call-ups prior to the tournament has gelled quickly and impressively.

Rangy forward Jacques Zoua impressed against the Black Stars with his running - while Benjamin Moukandjo and Christian Bassogog have been hugely influential.

They first qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 1970, but were knocked out in the first round.

As such, both sides are surprising (since they haven't been AFCON-relevant for a few years) and unsurprising (since they are regular visitors to summit of African soccer) finalists at this tournament.

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