Sadio Mane went from villain to hero during Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations final victory over Egypt on Sunday night.

The Liverpool star spurned a golden opportunity to give his national team the lead with an early penalty that was saved by Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski.

But Mane redeemed himself by converting the winning spot-kick in the shoot-out as Senegal were crowned champions of Africa for the first time.

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As well as getting his hands on the main trophy, Mane was also named the tournament’s best player after the match.

The 29-year-old scored three goals during the tournament. Only Cameroon duo Vincent Aboubakar (eight goals) and Karl Toko Ekambi (five) netted more.

Mane spoke to a group of journalists, including Juliet Bawuah, in the mixed zone after the match and the world-class forward’s interview was superb.

Video: Sadio Mane’s interview after AFON final

Watch it here:

“It’s not only the most important trophy, it’s the most important day of my life,” Mane said. “The best day of my life! So far, the best trophy of my life and I can’t express my feelings today – I’m very happy and proud.”

Asked how he felt after missing the early penalty, Mane continued: “I was unhappy, but the big difference today was my teammates. After missing the penalty, everybody came to me in the dressing room and said: ‘Sadio, we don’t care what happened – we lose together, we win together. We push again and we’re going to need you’.

“When I was going to take the second penalty, they all came to me and said: ‘We trust you, go and do it’.

“I think that made the difference. That was Senegal’s strength today. It gave me more motivation to shoot and score and I did it for all of the people.”

Mane also reserved special praise for Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse.

“I think is the first trophy in the history of Senegal,” he added. “The people cry about it because they’ve been waiting so long.

“But still, this trophy I give to Aliou Cisse, he deserves it. This man, for me, he is something else.”

Classy stuff from Mane.

Reaction to Sadio Mane’s AFCON interview

Let’s check out some of the best reaction to his emotional interview:

 

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