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AFCON 2021: Egypt Beat Hosts Cameroon on Penalties, Set Up a Mouthwatering Clash With Senegal in the Final
- Egypt defeated the AFCON hosts Cameroon on penalties after the match ended goalless after extra time
- The Pharaohs will meet The Lions of Teranga after beating Cameroon in the second semi-final of AFCON 2021
- Cameroon's captain Vincent Aboubakar scored the only penalty for the hosts as they crashed out of the tournament
Egypt booked their place in the final of AFCON 2021 after beating Cameroon in the second semi-final at the Olembe Stadium.
The Egyptians needed to rely on penalties to win the encounter after the game ended goalless.
Sports Brief monitored the game which saw Cameroon look like much the better side throughout the first half as Karl Toko Ekambi and Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui spurned some of their best chances.
Cameroon kept Egypt on the back foot, keeping possession smartly but doing very little with it. In the 15th minute, Ekambi burst into the box but failed to get away a cross or a shot as the ball was collected easily by Egypt’s keeper Abou Gabal.
Ngadeu-Ngadjui had two glorious attempts within the space of two minutes to give Cameroon the lead but failed to convert either.
The first hit the crossbar from a corner and the second he failed to make any decent contact with, and it was cleared. Ekambi then found himself in the middle of the box unmarked but the driven cross was behind him, and his off-balance shot looped up nicely for Gabal to deal with.
Arguably the most interesting part of the whole first half was when Gambian referee Bakary Gassama had a shouting match with Carlos Queiroz. The Egyptian coach was unhappy with a decision and made his voice heard, which didn’t please Gassama.
Coming into the game, the Egyptian FA had asked that Gassama be replaced as they felt he was biased against Egyptian clubs and the national team in the past.
Both teams went into the break goalless, and that trend continued after halftime. At the hour mark, Cameroon had only managed five attempts, one of which was on target. Egypt managed only three, also with one on target.
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Egypt looked much the better team in the second half and were unlucky not to take the lead through Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool striker latched on to a loose pass and tried to chip Cameroon’s keeper André Onana who rushed out to meet him, but to no avail.
Cameroon had a few chances to take the lead in the second half but failed to capitalise. Gabal wasn’t required to make any difficult saves and the Egyptian’s were probably thankful for that. Gabal played much of the game with what appeared to be the same groin injury that forced him off the field against Morocco.
In the 79th minute, Cameroon made their first change of the game replacing Samuel Gouet with James Léa Siliki. The midfielder almost had an immediate impact as twice he went close to opening the deadlock within four minutes of coming on.
In the 87th minute, Quieroz found himself booked for his antics on the touchline. Three minutes later he received his marching orders as he was shown a red by referee Gassamy. With assistant coach Roger de Sá receiving a four-match ban, Egypt had to rely on the backroom coaching staff to guide the team from the touchlines.
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In the last minute of time added on in the second half, Wael Gooma, a member of Egypt’s coaching staff, was also shown a yellow card for comments he made from the touchline.
The first half of extra time also proved to be a tense encounter as bother teams went in search of a winner. The match remained deadlocked. The second half of extra time followed much the same pattern and once again both teams remained deadlocked.
With two minutes to go in the game, Ramadan Sobhi had the best chance to give Egypt the win as he drilled a cross into the box but no one could get on the end of it to turn it into the back of the net. At the end of extra time, both teams were still deadlocked and the match went to penalties.
Cameroon only had themselves to blame in the penalty shootout as only captain Vincent Aboubakar scored his penalty.
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Harold Moukodi’s tame effort was saved as was Léa Siliki's attempt. Clinton N'Jie stepped up for Cameroon's fourth penalty, needing to score to keep them in the game but he put his shot wide.
Egypt claimed 3victory-1 on penalties.
AFCON 2021: Tournament winners to take home an eyewatering $5 million
In other AFCON related news, the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations being hosted in Cameroon will see the winner take home an eyewatering $5 million as a cash prize, Sports Brief earlier reported.
The amount is slightly higher than what Algeria banked when they won the tournament in 2019 in Egypt. Algeria, who were eliminated in the group stages of the 2021 AFCON took home $4.5 million at the time.
Only Egypt or Senegal can walk away with that money. The Lions of Teranga hammered Burkina Faso 3-1 to book their place in the final while Egypt beat Cameroon 3-1 on penalties to set up a mouthwatering clash.