Egypt, Cameroon reach African Cup semis

February 4, 2008

KUMASI, Ghana -- Stephane M'Bia and Cameroon needed extra time to beat Tunisia 3-2 Monday and reach the semifinals at the African Cup of Nations.

Defending champion Egypt also advanced, beating Angola 2-1 to complete the final four. Cameroon will face host Ghana and Egypt takes on Ivory Coast in Thursday's semis.

M'Bia scored his second of the game in the second minute of extra time, leading Cameroon to the victory after it wasted a 2-0 first-half lead and allowed the equalizer with 11 minutes remaining.

"It was a tough match," Cameroon captain Rigobert Song said. "We scored two goals and then we brought them into the game but this team has strong mentality."

M'Bia gave Cameroon the lead in the 19th before Geremi doubled it with a 27th-minute free kick. Chaouki Ben Saada cut the lead in half with a curling free kick in the 34th and Yasin Chikhaoui equalized from 15 yards in the 79th.

Earlier, at Kumasi's half-empty stadium, Egypt's Hosni Abd Rabou converted a penalty for his fourth goal of the tournament in the 23rd, capitalizing on Andre Macanga's handball in the area.

Manucho tied it for Angola in the 27th but Amr Zaki converted the go-ahead goal in the 38th.

Egypt's semifinal matchup with Ivory Coast will be a repeat of the 2006 final, which the Pharaohs won on home soil for a record fifth continental title.

"I am happy because we have qualified," Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib said. "We played a very good game against a good team."

Angola, which was making its first appearance in the quarters, had a few chances to equalize in the second half but Manucho missed in the 46th and 60th.

"We played our own game against Egypt," said coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves of Angola, which will host the next African Cup in 2010. "I am satisfied by what my team did."

Ivory Coast advanced to the semis with a 5-0 victory over Guinea on Sunday just hours after Ghana defeated Nigeria 2-1.

"We have played Ivory Coast before and in the last games in 2006, they proved a great team," Egypt captain Ahmed Hassa said. "We will be prepared to meet them."

Goalkeeper Lama kept the Black Antelopes in the game with an acrobatic save to deny Emad Motaeb from the edge of the area in the 66th.

Cameroon, like Ghana, is looking to match Egypt's five titles.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press