Edouard Mendy produced the crucial save in the penalty shoot-out as Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first-ever time, meaning our goalkeeper is now a champion of Africa and Europe.

For the fifth time in the last 11 Africa Cup of Nations, the destination of the trophy was decided by a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes, but it was Senegal who came out on top with Mendy proving to be the difference, ending the game receiving a well-deserved winner's medal and the award for the tournament's best goalkeeper.

With the scores tied going into the fourth round of spot kicks, it was the Chelsea goalkeeper who got down to deny Mohanad Lasheen from 18 yards, allowing Sadio Mane to convert Senegal’s next penalty and seal the win.

Mendy started in goal for a Senegal side hoping to erase previous disappointments, having lost on both their previous appearances in the final. He lined up as part of a strong defence, which had conceded just two goals in their six matches en route to the final.

They were given a great opportunity to take an early lead when Egypt defender Mohamed Abdelmonem threw himself into a challenge in the box, clearly taking out Saliou Ciss and giving the referee an easy decision to point to the penalty spot with just seven minutes on the clock.

However, Liverpool forward Mane couldn’t take advantage of that chance, opting for power with the spot kick but being denied by the strong hands of Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski. Despite that blow, it was still Senegal who were taking the early initiative, as Ismaila Sarr twice flashed a low ball across the box that nobody could get a touch on with the goal gaping.

At the other end, Mendy easily gathered a high ball following an Egypt free-kick looped into the box, but was largely untroubled. His first real bit of involvement came when Mohamed Salah embarked on a long jinking run while cutting inside on his left foot to shoot low, but his effort was too central to trouble Edou, as he dropped to the ground to smother the ball for his first save with nearly 30 minutes played.

Mendy’s most important involvement of the 90 minutes came just before half-time, when he had to produce an excellent save to keep out a fierce Salah shot and prevent Egypt going in at the break with a lead which had looked unlikely for most of the opening 45 minutes.

Again it came from the Liverpool striker carrying the ball in from the right wing and, just as for his goal against Chelsea in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last month, he tried to beat Mendy at his near post. But on this occasion the Blues keeper came out on top, shifting direction and stretching high to his left to palm it away from the top corner.

Senegal came out for the second half looking the stronger of the two teams again, but weren’t making the best of their opportunities. Mendy was mostly reduced to the status of spectator, but was grateful to see Egypt waste the best of their few chances too, twice failing to hit the target with headers in good positions.

For a second it looked like there might be a moment of late drama when a hopeful cross by Senegal found its way to Bamba Dieng on the penalty spot, but the substitute lashed his volley into the stands.

After 90 minutes without a goal, Senegal nearly took the lead after just 30 seconds of extra time when Dieng was released in the left-hand channel, but the angle was closing on him and Gabaski was able to get down quickly and keep his low shot out.

The only time Mendy was needed in the first period of extra time was to casually pick up a deflected shot that spun slowly into the six-yard box, while his opposite number Gabaski was required to make another good save to tip a Dieng header around the post as Senegal continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock.

Although the tired legs and tension were in evidence during extra time, both keepers needed to make late saves, Gabaski pushing a long-range Dieng shot away and Mendy showing good reactions to stretch high and palm a Marwan Hamdi effort over the bar.

Penalties were needed to find a winner, though, and it was Senegal and Mendy who held their nerve. After Bouna Sarr had his shot saved for Senegal and Egypt’s Abdelmonem hit the post, our goalkeeper got down low to his right to save Egypt’s fourth penalty, getting both hands to the ball to push Lasheen’s effort away.

That gave Senegal the advantage, leaving the finishing touch to Mane, who converted their last penalty and sparked wild celebrations as Senegal finally got their hands on the Cup of Nations trophy.