Fortune favours Egypt as defending champions advance to semi-finals

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The Independent Online

A fortunate bounce off the body of striker Amr Zaki was enough to ensure Egypt retained hopes of a successful African Nations Cup title defence with a 2-1 win over Angola in yesterday's quarter-final. They were joined in the last four by Cameroon, who needed extra-time to deal with a stubborn Tunisian side that had clawed back a two-goal deficit before going down 3-2 last night.

Zaki's 38th-minute goal proved the winner for Egypt at Kumasi's Baba Yara Stadium, setting up a semi-final with the Ivory Coast at the same venue on Thursday. Angola defender Kali failed to clear a cross from full-back Sayed Moawad and the ball spun right in front of goal, bouncing and hitting Zaki just above the knee before going into the net.

Egypt had opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Angola captain Andre jumped up to block a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and the ball hit his hand. Hosni Abd Rabou converted the penalty for his fourth goal of the tournament.

The lead lasted all of four minutes before Manucho thundered a cracking left-footed shot from outside the penalty area. "Angola played with tactics and great heart but we had a really good game," said Egypt assistant coach Shawky Gharib.

Angola faded out of the contest in the closing stages of their first appearance in the quarter-finals. "We were not the lucky side," said Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves. "We have built a team that has the strength to challenge the defending champions and we have already beaten some of the big sides. We are on the rise and Africa can count on us to be around for a while."

Otto Pfister's Cameroon now have the daunting task of taking on Ghana, the host nation once coached by Pfister, in Thursday's opening semi-final. Stephane Mbia and Geremi put the Indomitable Lions two up, but Chaouki Ben Saada, with a 25-yard free-kick, and Yassine Chikhaoui replied for the Carthage Eagles to force extra-time.

It was Mbia, who plays for Rennes in France, who settled the game, twisting to volley home Geremi's long throw in the first period of extra-time.

Results and fixtures

Quarter-finals

Egypt (2) 2 Angola (1) 1

Tunisia (1) 2 Cameroon (2) 3 aet, score at 90 min 2-2

Semi-finals

Thursday 7 February: Ghana v Cameroon, Accra, 16.45, Eurosport, BBCi

Ivory Coast v Egypt, Kumasi, 20.30, Eurosport, BBC Three

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