TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Egypt 3-1 Cameroon

By BBC News

Egypt progressed to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals by beating Cameroon 3-1, after extra-time.

Egyptian captain Ahmed Hassan made all the headlines, as he scored two and helped in Cameroon's only goal.

Cameroon took an early lead when Hassan touched in an Achille Emana corner, before levelling from distance.

Hassan then struck the winner with a disputed free-kick, which appeared not to have crossed the line, after Mohamed Gedo punished Geremi's short back-pass.

The 34-year-old skipper was making his 170th appearance for the Pharoahs - an African record - and was at the heart of the Egyptians' controlled performance.

And he will be grateful to the match officials for allowing his free-kick in the fifth minute of injury time to stand, as replays appeared to show the ball had not crossed the line, after it bounced down off the bar.

The Indomitable Lions will not be so thankful, having played some of their best football of the tournament.

Cameroon were determined to get an early foothold in the game and forced Egypt to concede several early corners.

Emana whipped in a number of corners in succession to the near post - in what appeared to be a well-practiced tactic - to no avail, until he fired in another on 25 minutes which was heading straight in before taking the deftest of touches off Hassan's head.

Twelve minutes later, Hassan atoned for his part in the opening goal, finding himself in acres of space and hitting a swerving shot from 30 yards which keeper Carlos Kameni allowed to bounce in front of him and into the net.

Egypt almost extended their lead early in the second half, with the Cameroonian defence looking very shaky.

First, Emad Motaeb found the Cameroon defence in disarray, then Mohamed Zidan had two successive chances, but neither could punish Kameni's back four.

Paul Le Guen's team regained their composure and began to look dangerous once more, with Emana's fierce strike well saved by Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary.

The second half became a lot more open, with Cameroon pouring forward, playing some nice inter-passing and link-up play, in search of a second.

Samuel Eto'o had another quiet performance, before hitting two long-range efforts, one with venom but straight at El Hadary, and another skied high and over.

Motaeb could have nicked it at the end of normal time when he had a great chance on his left foot but hit the side-netting instead of the back of the net.

Cameroon started extra-time in a similar vein to the beginning of the game as they sought to take the game to Egypt, with Eto'o lashing another shot from distance and Pierre Achille Webo hitting another straight at El Hadary.

Midfielder Geremi, who had been influential throughout then dealt his team a fatal blow, when he hit the sloppiest of attempted back-passes to his keeper, which Gedo nipped in to intercept and slide through Kameni's legs.

Three minutes later, the match was settled in controversial circumstances, when Hassan hammered in his free kick which Kameni punched onto his bar instead of palming it clear and the referee's assistant allowed to stand, after it bounced down off the upright.