Egypt stun Cameroon, Nigeria beat Zambia in penalty shootout

2010-01-26 13:14

EGYPT kept their title defence firmly on track with a 3-1 extra

time win over Cameroon while goalkeeper Victor Enyeama was Nigeria’s penalty

shoot-out hero against Zambia in yesterday’s quarter-final action at the Africa Cup

of Nations (Afcon).

Egypt now face bitter rivals Algeria, and Nigeria take on Ghana in

Thursday’s semi-finals with the victors meeting in Luanda’s 11 November stadium

in Sunday’s final.

It was always going to be hard to live up to Algeria’s thrilling

five goal extra-time win over favourites Ivory Coast on Monday, but silky smooth

Egypt managed it.

The Pharoahs extended their unbeaten run in the continental

championship to 17 games despite going a goal down with skipper Ahmed Hassan

heading into his own net.

But Hassan celebrated earning an African record 170th cap with a

peach of a goal in the 37th minute, firing in from 35 yards to land the ball

inches in front of keeper Carlos Kameni who watched in despair as the ball

bounced past him.

Extra time was only two minutes old when substitute Mohamed “Gedo”

Nafy put Egypt in front and they turned the screw on 95 minutes when a curling

freekick by Hassan was adjudged to have been palmed beyond the goalline by

Kameni.

Television replays showed that the ball did not cross the

line.

A startling statistic from this last-eight fixture in Benguela was

that Cameroon had no fewer than 24 corners to Egypt’s none.

Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen angrily walked out of the post-match

press conference, leaving skipper Samuel Eto’o to take issue with South African

referee Jerome Damon.

“The referee supported Egypt a bit because they did not deserve to

win this game. But I won’t blame the referee because this is Africa and we still

have a lot to learn.”

Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib saluted Cameroon and defended

Damon’s performance.

“Cameroon are a great team and they pushed us very hard.

“We, for our part, played very well and knew what we needed to do

to win this match.

“However, a match is all about 90 minutes and there are no games

without mistakes, but overall the referee was fair to both teams.”

Man of the hour Hassan, whose country is going for a record seventh

crown, was unperturbed by the controversy.

“I’m very happy because we won today,” he said. “We played a very

good match, and I’m thrilled to have scored two goals and also with the record

of 170 appearances.”

Egypt now take on Algeria, who thwarted their chances of competing

in the World Cup in November’s acrimonious play-off.

But Afcon’s organisers will be spared any similar violent clashes

between the two country’s fans as there are only a few fans in Angola due to

visa restrictions and the exorbitant cost of accommodation and food.

Ghana, despite their youthfulness and lack of star players, will

fancy their chances against Nigeria after a turgid scrappy affair in Lubango –

the goalless stalemate would have gone on all night if it hadn’t been for

spotkicks.

Zambia’s Thomas Nyirenda saw his penalty saved by Enyeama leaving

Nigeria’s Hapoel Tel Aviv-based stopper to put the Super Eagles into the last

four when he stepped up and converted for a 5-4 win.

For Zambia it was a cruel end to what has been a fine tournament

for Herve Renard’s minnows, who outplayed Nigeria for much of the game.


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