A youthful Cameroon team crowned a superb 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign when they came from a goal down in the final at the Stade de l'Amitie in Libreville on Sunday night to beat Egypt 2-1.
- Cameroon 2 Egypt 1
- Elneny scores in the 22nd minute
- Nkoulou levels it on 57 minutes
- Aboubakar nets an inspired 88th minute winner
- The Indomitable Lions win the title for the fifth time
Cameroon had the better of the first-half play, but Egypt always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and opened the scoring from this route.
The West-African side were deservedly back on level terms 12 minutes after the restart and clinched the win with a brilliant late goal from Besiktas forward Vincent Aboubakar.
The Pharaohs had the first chance on the night when with only a minute on the clock, Mohamed Salah threaded in a defence-splitting pass for Abdallah El-Said, whose shot was crisply struck, but well saved by Fabrice Ondoa.
Cameroon enjoyed some good possession, but they lacked the quality to create clear-cut chances, the underdogs at times showing their inexperience with some poor decision making and wasteful shooting.
The ever-clinical Egyptians took the lead on 21 minutes when Salah played the ball in to Mohamed Elneny, the Arsenal midfielder almost looking surprised at the amount of space he was afforded before he cleverly squeezed in a tight shot past Ondoa at his near post.
The remainder of the first-half saw the Indomitable Lions enjoying more of the play; their superior pace and power ensuring a good supply of ball, but Egypt were happy to get numbers back into their own half, and veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary was largely untested as a couple more speculative efforts flew into the stands.
The North-Africans had the first chance after the restart when a clearance fell to El-Said on the edge of the area, but his 48th minute volley was well wide of the mark.
But Hugo Broos' Cameroon were soon in control of proceedings again, pushing and probing for an opening and finally getting reward for their persistent efforts when substitute Nicolas Nkoulou rose majestically above giant Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazy to head Benjamin Moukandjo's inviting 58th minute cross past El-Hadary and into back of the net.
Buoyed by their equaliser and by their fans who considerably outnumbered the north African team's supporters, Cameroon went in search of the winner.
However, with the likes of Moukandjo and Jacques Zoua firing well off target, the final looked to be heading for extra time.
But Vincent Aboubakar, on as a substitute like Nkoulou, had other ideas when, two minutes before end of regulation time, he chested down a long pass from the back, flicked the ball over a defender, ran onto his own pass and then smashed in a volley – a goal certainly worthy of winning Africa’s biggest prize by the Besiktas marksman.
The victory gave Cameroon revenge for losing to Egypt in the 2008 final, while Hector Cuper's Pharaohs were denied an eighth title.