Football News

Gabaski the hero again as Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties to make AFCON final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:38, 3 February 2022

Gabaski was yet again the hero for Egypt as they beat Cameroon 1-3 on penalties to make the Africa Cup of Nations final.

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The 33-year-old started the tournament as Egypt’s back-up goalkeeper and had to watch as Mohamed El Shenawy was bombarded with shots against his goal and worked miracles to keep them out.

No goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations can top El Shenawy’s 3.30 goals prevented, having let in just one goal from an XGOT of 4.40. When he got injured and had to go off just before 90 minutes against Ivory Coast, Egypt must have feared the worst.

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But up-stepped Gabaski, who instantly made himself a national hero thanks to a truly sensational save from Eric Bailly’s penalty and ensuring that Egypt won the shoot-out and made it to the quarter-finals.

There he helped Egypt pick up an extra-time win against Morocco, but he had to leave the field late with an injury of his own. That leg injury threatened his participation against Cameroon but he strapped up and went out there anyway.

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His reward? A clean-sheet, a powerful performance that saw him play through the pain barrier and make several crucial interventions to keep the ball out of his net. Gabaski’s presence was huge for Egypt as they sought to contain top-scorers Cameroon.

Then when it came down to a shoot-out, Gabaski once again did his thing. Nothing quite matched the Bailly save, but his stops from Harold Moukoudi and James Lea Siliki turned the tide of the shoot-out Egypt’s way so much so that Clinton N’Jie tried so hard to bury his spot-kick right in the corner to avoid the powerful arms of Gabaski and ended up punting it wide.

Gabaski has emerged from the shadows to be Egypt’s hero. He’s outdone Andre Onana and next up is Champions League winner and FIFA’s The Best Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy. Can Gabaski outplay Mendy and Senegal in Yaoundé on Sunday, helping to deliver Egypt’s first Africa Cup of Nations since 2010? Don’t rule it out!