This was supposed to be the worst Cameroon team in a generation. Now they are best in a generation, the first to win this tournament in 15 years. This is a feelgood triumph of the human spirit. Cameroon created nothing in the first half but in the second they were relentless and fully deserved to win. The captain Moukandjo, who played a huge part and created the equaliser, is in tears. Both the goals came from substitutes, Nkoulou and the hugely influential centre-forward Vincent Aboubakar. What a story! Congratulations to Cameroon, commiserations to Egypt. Night!
Full time: Egypt 1-2 Cameroon
Cameroon are the champions of Africa for the first time since 2002!
Updated at 8.58pm GMT
90+4 min There’s a long delay while Bassogog is stretched off. Cameroon had just made their final substitution.
90+3 min Elneny hits the free-kick well over the bar.
90+2 min It’s kicked off! Fai is booked for a foul, then Warda has a shoving match with the keeper Ondoa, who was attempting to waste a bit of time. When it’s all settled, Egypt have a free-kick 25 yards from goal. This might be their last chance.
90 min There will be three minutes of added time. Cameroon are still marching forward. They have been outrageously good in this second half.
Updated at 8.48pm GMT
Egypt appealed for a high foot when Aboubakar lobbed it over the head of Gabr. I’m not sure. Gabr ducked into the ball and Aboubabakar had every right to go for that.
Updated at 8.51pm GMT
Aboubakar abracadabrad that goal out of nothing. Siani drove a long pass to find him on the edge of the box, all on his own against three defenders. He took it down with his shoulder, flipped it over the head of Gabr and then contorted his body to hit a bouncing volley across the motionless El Hadary and into the corner.
Updated at 8.50pm GMT
GOAL! Egypt 1-2 Cameroon (Aboubakar 88)
Vincent Aboubakar has won it for Cameroon with a sensational goal!
Updated at 8.58pm GMT
86 min For the first time in the second half, Cameroon have started to think about not losing the match rather than winning it. It’s human nature but they will regret it if they end up losing the game on penalties.
83 min We’re into squeaky-bum time. Cameroon are still the dominant time, though Egypt have started to cross the halfway line with a little more frequency.
80 min “I think I agree with your theory about Arsenal achieving exactly what they should achieve,” says Matt Dony. “The true frustration, though, is that they should be in a position to achieve more in the first place. Ozil is (sometimes) one of the best players in the world in his position, Sanchez is the player Liverpool should have bought to replace Suarez, but they have settled for other average players. I dislike Wenger, but he is a great coach and he’s proven with those two he can attract top players, and we’ve always been told they can compete financially with anyone. They should have a whole team of world-beaters. As a club, they’ve quietly accepted Champions League qualification as a goal.”
It’s a really interesting subject. I see your point. They would get less criticism if they finished seventh one year and third the next, but finishing top four every season creates an expectation of improvement. Nobody has time for equilibrium any more, in football or life. We’re addicted to rollercoasters.
Updated at 8.41pm GMT
79 min Bassogog, just outside the area on the left, plays a superb disguised pass across the box to find Moukandjo in lots of space. He takes the shot first time but the ball bounces awkwardly and it flies high and wide. He might have had time to take a touch, on reflection.
77 min Djoum breaks up an Egypt attack and marches 60 yards to the edge of the area. It’s a great run. Everyone knows he should now pass the ball, but his subconscious is screaming “HAVE A GOOD YOU COULD WIN THE TOURNAMENT WITH A WORLDIE”. He has a go, and it dribbles miserably wide.
Updated at 8.35pm GMT
72 min Hegazy mistimes a clearance and concedes a corner, a reflection of the constant pressure he and Gabr are under. Moukandjo’s corner is superbly headed away by Gabr.
71 min Salah improvises a brilliant scorpion flick over the head of Oyongo in the box only for Ngadeu to come across and clear. That was brilliant skill.
70 min The lively Moukandjo’s snapshot deflects over the bar for another Cameroon corner. He takes the corner himself and the backpedalling Ngadeu’s looping header is comfortably claimed by El Hadary.
69 min Hegazy heads behind for another Cameroon corner. The Egypt defence is under almost relentless pressure at the moment. Moukandjo’s near-post corner finds the head of Nkoulou inside the six-yard box but he can’t leap high enough and heads over the top. That was a bit of a chance.
66 min Stoke’s Ramadan Sobhy replaces Trezeguet on the left-wing for Egypt.
64 min Cameroon are in complete control at the moment. This is the problem with being quite so brazenly defensive; it can be hard to adjust your approach if you do concede an equaliser. It happened a few times to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England.
Updated at 8.23pm GMT
61 min Egypt were asking for trouble with the sheer extent of their defensive approach. They barely bothered to cross the halfway line after half-time.
The goal came from the substitute centre-back Nkoulou! A corner was half-cleared and fed back out to Moukandjo on the left. With no pace on the ball he coaxed a superb dipping cross towards the six-yard line, where Nkoulou towered above Hegazy to plant a downward header into the corner. El Hadary dived posthumously;he wouldn’t have got there anyway. There was a bit of Alonso/Bellerin about the way Nkoulou won that header, albeit without the controversy and the concussion.
Updated at 8.21pm GMT
GOAL! Egypt 1-1 Cameroon (Nkoulou 59)
Bloody hell, Cameroon have equalised!
Updated at 8.18pm GMT
57 min The brilliant Salah buys his defence some oxygen with a 60-yard run that ends with a foul by Oyongo. He is a beautiful footballer.
55 min Egypt have basically declared at 1-0. They are barely bothering to attack. It’s a risky tactic, and Barry Davies would be unimpressed, but I suppose they are at least playing to their strength.
Updated at 8.14pm GMT
53 min “The Spice Boys similarity works up to a point (fun, usually, to watch, but ultimately ineffective), but this Arsenal is much less homogeneously nearly-good,” says Charles Antaki. “Some players are entertaining & skilful and would have fitted into that Liverpool team (say, Bellerin) or would match one or two of the thick-ear ones (say Xhaka for Ruddock). But Sánchez and Ozil are surely in a class distinct from, say, Fowler or McManaman. On the other hand, they seem to be enjoying life a lot, lot less.”
I’m not sure they are, certainly not relative in this league and relative to the rest of the league. At Premier League level, Fowler from 1994-97 was astonishing. Interesting subject though.
51 min Trezeguet fouls Bassogog to give Cameroon a free-kick on the right wing. Bassogog takes it himself; it’s a poor one but hits an unsighted defender and goes behind for a corner.
Updated at 8.09pm GMT
50 min Cameroon have had most of the ball since half-time, as you’d expect given the scoreline and Egypt’s nature.
49 min El Said drags a long-range volley well wide for Egypt.
46 min Peep peep! Cameroon begin the second half, kicking from left to right.
Cameroon have made a half-time substitution: Vincent Aboubakar replaces Tambe up front.
Half time: Egypt 1-0 Cameroon
Peep peep! Egypt are 45 minutes away from another Afcon triumph thanks to Mohamed Elneny’s clever/fortunate (delete as appropriate) goal. It’s been an okay half and Cameroon have had plenty of the ball. The worry for them is that they haven’t look like getting past this terrific Egypt defence. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
43 min El Hadary gets away with another unconvincing attempt to deal with Oyongo’s deep cross. That, as the commentator on Eurosport says, should be Cameroon’s Plan B in the second half.
41 min This is a good spell of sustained pressure for Cameroon. Egypt still look very comfortable defensively, mind.
36 min Elneny heads a cross behind for a Cameroon corner. It’s drilled towards the penalty box and headed tamely wide by the under-pressure Zoua.
Updated at 7.37pm GMT
34 min The old man El Hadary comes a long way out of goal and makes a mess of a simple punch. The ball falls to Bassogog, who works the space for a shot on the right-hand side of the box and then smashes it high and wide. It was a half-chance at best.
33 min Egypt are superb at the back – they have conceded only one goal in the tournament – and so far Cameroon have barely looked like winning a corner, never mind scoring a goal.
31 min The injured Teikeu is replaced by Nicolas Nkoulou.
30 min Teikeu looks like he won’t be able to continue. That’s really sad. He is lying on his back, with his hand on his groin. He’s asking for a few more minutes from the medical staff but I don’t think he’s going to get them.
27 min “The invitation to provide an Arsenal joke is tempting,” says Charles Antaki. “But 11 players managed to do that fairly comprehensively yesterday.”
I have a half-baked theory about Arsenal: they are the new Spice Boys. Not in terms of lifestyle and hilariously named horses, but because they are perceived as irritating underachivers when actually they are just achievers. What they do each season is about par, possibly better than par, for the players they have. They are a very good football team, but they just aren’t that good. If they were worse, they would receive less criticism.
Updated at 7.32pm GMT
26 min Teikeu lands awkwardly and needs treatment around the groin. While he waits for the physio he sits fiddling with his masculinity while the camera lingers on him.
23 min Ondoa was crouching and therefore couldn’t spring to save the shot. It’s hard to know for certain whether Elneny spotted this, but if he did it was a clever goal. Either way it was a nice move, with a couple of classy touches from Salah in the build-up.
Updated at 7.26pm GMT
Elneny gives Egypt the lead from a tight angle. Salah on the right played an excellent angled pass to find him in space in the box. There wasn’t much on, so he decided to sidefoot a rising shot that beat Ondoa at the near post. Ondoa should probably have done better; Egypt will not give a solitary one about that.
Updated at 7.25pm GMT
GOAL! Egypt 1-0 Cameroon (Elneny 22)
Insert your own Arsenal joke here!
17 min After a passive first 10 minutes, Cameroon are having plenty of the ball now. They’re doing bugger all with it, but come on, baby steps.
14 min Bassogog slips away from Elneny but then batters a shot high over the bar from long-range. I’m not saying you can log off until the penalty shoot-out at around 9.40pm … but this hasn’t been great so far.
9 min It’s all Egypt. This could be a long night for Cameroon playing like this, although 0-0 draws aren’t exactly without precedent in Afcon finals: four of the last eight have gone to penalty shoot-outs without a goal being scored.
7 min Siani has Cameroon’s first shot, a tame long-range sidefoot that is comfortably saved by El Hadary.
5 min Egypt have started positively, with most of the ball. Cameroon won’t mind that too much.
2 min El Said has a big early chance for Cameroon! After some neat one-touch football, Salah ushered him into the box with a deft touch past the left-back Oyongo. As defenders converged El Said stuck a low first-time shot across goal that was well saved by the plunging Ondoa.
Updated at 7.04pm GMT
1 min Peep peep! Egypt, in red, kick off from left to right. Cameroon are in green.
The last time Cameroon won this tournament was in 2002, when they sported one of football’s greatest kits: the sleeveless green vest.
Updated at 6.53pm GMT
“Just a word on the referee Janny Sikazwe tonight,” says Harry Middleton, generously doing my job for me. “The CAF referee committee have assigned the final to Janny Sikazwe from Zambia. He has shown a big development in the last couple of years, in 2015 at his third AFCON he was appointed for the first time into the knockout round. If you do remember his name it is likely from his last final, of the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. Overall he showed a good performance showing a modern but unobtrusive style, however he was memorable for reaching into his pocket but not cautioning for the second time Sergio Ramos.
“In this championship he has shown three okay performances, including a solid performance at the Quarterfinal between Cameroon – Senegal. Personally I would rather have seen Daniel Bennett referee tonight (he is the fourth official), but regional politics certainly helped Sikazwe, not to say he isn’t a good referee. He is now pretty much certain to go to the next World Cup in Russia. The assistants tonight are Jerson Dos Santos (Angola) and Aden Marwa Range (Kenya). As aforementioned Daniel Bennett (South Africa) will act as Fourth Official. Good luck to the team tonight!”
Egypt (4-2-3-1) El Hadary; Elmohamady, Hegazy, Gabr, Fathi; Hamed, Elneny; M Salah, El Said, Trezeguet; Warda.
Cameroon (4-2-3-1) Ondoa; Fai, Teikeu, Ngadeu, Oyongo; Siani, Djoum; Bassogog, Zoua, Moukandjo; Tambe.
Updated at 7.00pm GMT
You never get a second chance to make a last impression. The final of a major tournament has a big impact on how history judges that tournament. That’s been a particular problem for the Africa Cup of Nations, whose recent finals have been so tedious as to make the World Cup equivalents feel like orgies of entertainment by comparison. The last eight Afcon finals have produced seven goals, four 0-0 draws and 471,941,865 unplanned naps from those watching on the sofa.
This tournament really needs a good final, because it has not been the best. At least not in terms of basic entertainment. It has produced some cracking stories, however – none better than Cameroon, whose inexperienced team have marched unexpectedly to the final.
So many players pulled out beforehand that you half expected Roger Milla to unhang his boots one last time at the age of 38. They were described the worst Cameroon team in a generation. And now, after beating the mighty Senegal and Ghana, they are in the final.
Egypt’s is a pretty good story too. They won three Afcons in a row from 2006-10, then failed to qualify for three in a row before this year’s tournament. They don’t really do half measures, do they?
Kick off is at 7pm.
Updated at 6.42pm GMT
Rob will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a read of Sid Lowe’s interview with Egypt’s Héctor Cúper?
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