Cameroon handed Egypt their first Africa Cup of Nations defeat in more than a decade to win the 2017 title with a 2-1 victory in the final in Libreville, Gabon, on Sunday night.
The Pharaohs – who were unbeaten in the Afcon finals since 2004 – took the lead in the first half through Mohamed Elneny, but second-half strikes from substitutes Nicolas N’Koulou and Vincent Aboubakar took the Indomitable Lions to their fifth African crown.
After a cagey opening, Egypt broke the deadlock midway through the first half when returning midfielder Mohamed Elneny scored with a shot from a tight angle which had the beating of goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoua at his near post.
Cameroon suffered another blow just after the half hour mark when influential defender Adolphe Teikeu succumbed to injury and had to be replaced by Nicolas N’Koulou.
Yet the Indomitable Lions ended the half as the stronger side, pushing Egypt back into their own half and causing a few nervy moments in the North Africans’ defence. Nonetheless, Egypt led 1-0 at the interval.
Cameroon made a second change at the start of the second half, sending on experienced striker Vincent Aboubakar in place of Robert Ndip Tambe, but it was their first substitute, N’Koulou, who made a huge impact just before the hour mark.
The defender brought the West Africans level in the 59th minute when he got on the end of an in-swinging cross from Benjamin Moukandjo and turned his header into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Ten minutes later he threatened a second from a corner kick, but put his header was off target as Cameroon went up a gear and began to really dominate proceedings in Libreville.
The match looked to be headed to extra time, but in the 88th minute Aboubakar controlled a long ball, chipped it over the head of a defender and volleyed beyond Essam El Hadary to win the match and the championship for the Indomitable Lions.
Egypt (1) 1 (Mohamed Elneny 22’)
Cameroon (0) 2 (Nicolas N’Koulou 59’, Vincent Aboubakar 88’)
Egypt: Essam El Hadary, Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed Hegazy, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Elmohamady, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Amr Warda, Abdallah Said, Mahmoud Hassan (Ramadan Sobhi 66’), Mohamed Salah
Cameroon: Fabrice Ondoua, Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Collins Fai, Adolphe Teikeu (Nicolas N’Koulou 32’), Ambroise Oyongo, Sébastien Siani, Arnaud Sutchuin Djoum, Benjamin Moukandjo, Robert Ndip Tambe (Vincent Aboubakar 46’), Christian Bassogog, Jacques Zoua (Georges Mandjeck 90+4’)