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Egypt defeats Cameroon on penalties to reach AFCON finals


Egypt knocked Cameroon out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to book their spot in the final with a 3-1 win via penalty shoot-out.

120 minutes of football was not enough to separate the two teams at the Olembe Stadium until the game went into penalties and the Indomitable Lions missed three attempts.

As expected, Thursday’s encounter started with a high intensity but it was Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz who was first cautioned by referee Papa Gassama as he tried to express his frustration following in the 11th minute.

Four minutes later, Karl Toko Ekambi found his way into the Pharoahs’ box with his dazzling run but his shot lacked power to move goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal.

Cameroon continued pressing for the opening goal with another effort in the 17th minute but Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui’s header, off Moumi Ngamaleu’s corner-kick, was denied by the crossbar and the rebound that dropped in front of Vincent Aboubakar was blocked for another set-piece.

The resulting corner led to another good chance with Anguissa flipping a back pass but Ngadeu-Ngadjui did not connect well with it.

A minute after the half-hour mark, Toko Ekambi had a loose ball in front of him but he did not take his chance

Egypt, on the other hand, tried to a fast-break but it ended in free-kick for them after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Ngamaleu

The Pharoahs made a bright start to the second 45 minutes and they had their chance in the 56th minute when Martin Hongla made a back pass that was intercepted by Salah but the Liverpool star could not find his way past goalkeeper Andre Onana who rushed out to make a decisive stop.

Salah clearly expressed his frustration after missing the chance by hitting his hands on the floor.

Cameroon responded with an attacking move that nearly resulted in a goal but Samuel Goumet’s stunning shot from outside the penalty area rattled the woodwork.

Quieroz was first shown a yellow card in the 86th minute and he was sent to the stands, four minutes later over his uncontrolled reactions.

The expulsion of the Portuguese coach left Egypt in the hands of the team manager with assistant coach Roger De Sa serving a four-match ban from Caf.

The 90 minutes ended with more tension with another Egyptian official shown a yellow card on the bench.

Cameroon, however, were undeterred by their opponents’ reactions and they continued their push to break the deadlock in the first few minutes of the extra-time.

Second-half substitute James Lea Siliki tried to convert a free-kick with goalkeeper Abou Gabal out of his post but

Towards the end of the closing stages of the extra-time, the Pharaohs made a strange decision by replacing striker Mohamed Sherif in the 117th minute, 12 minutes after he came on for Mostafa Mohamed.

Egypt had a perfect chance to bury the game at the death but Ramadan Sobhi’s cross inside the box found none.

The penalty shoot-out started with Cameroon and it was converted by Aboubakar while Zizo also sent Onana the wrong way.

Goalkeeper Abou Gabal saved Henry Moukoudi while Mohamed Abdelmonem put Egypt in front by sending Onana the wrong way again.

Lea Siliki stepped up for the third attempt but it was parried again by Egypt goalkeeper while Mohanad Lasheen converted his effort. Clinton Njie finally ended the Indomitable Lions’ dreams after placing the fourth effort off target.

The result means Egypt will now face Senegal in the final showdown billed for the Olembe Stadium on Sunday while Cameroon will fight for the third-place against Burkina Faso on Saturday.

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