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It’s Mo Salah vs Sadio Mane in AFCON final as Egypt dump hosts Cameroon out

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Egypt players celebrate their win

Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will clash in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations after Egypt dumped out hosts Cameroon with a 3-1 score in the semis at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal was the Egyptian hero. The back up goalkeeper who was stepping into the starting role in the absence of Mohamed Elshenawy saved two penalties as the Egyptians cruised, seeking their eighth African title.

The game had to go to penalties after a barren stalemate in 90 minutes and added time, and Cameroon were poor from 12 yards out.

Skipper Vincent Aboubakar had got them going after scoring the first kick, with Egypt responding through Ahmed Sayed ‘Zizo’.

Cameroon were however blown off with Harold Makoudi and substitute Lea Siliki seeing both their poorly taken penalties saved by Abou Gabal. Mohamed Abdelmonem and Mohanad Lasheen expertly tucked away their efforts as Egypt went to the lead.

Clinton Njie, also coming in as a substitute, stepped up to take Cameroon’s fourth to keep them in the game, but he also took a horrible kick which flew wide.

Egypt didn’t need to take the remaining two as they had accrued an unassailable lead to storm the final.

In regulation time, both sides had chances, but the match was tightly contested with none of the two wanting to make errors. Salah asked the first questions with a curling effort from distance which went just wide.

Cameroon had an opportunity when Karl Toko Ekambi made a daunting run on the right but his effort to cut back a cross into the area was weak, the ball flying into Abou Gabal’s arms.

They came closest minutes later when off a Momo Ngamaleu’s corner, central defender Michael Ngadeu’s towering header came against the crossbar. Skipper Aboubakar stretched his foot on the rebound, but he placed his effort just wide.

Ekambi who has so far scored five goals in the competition also had a chance when he was picked out by a cutback from the left but his shot didn’t gather enough strength, the keeper gathering with ease.

In the second half, the chances continued to come with Mostafa Mohamed seeing his header from a cross on the left fly straight to the keeper’s arms.

Karl Toko Ekambi taking on Mo Salah

Egypt were gifted a golden opportunity in the 55th minute when Salah intercepted a backpass from Martin Hongla destined for keeper Andre Onana. However, the Liverpool forward’s attempt to skip over the custodian was cut out as Onana stuck a leg out to keep the ball away.

On the other end in the 67th minute, Cameroon came close again when Ekambi sneaked in at the near post to brush in a freekick from Ngamaleu’s but the ball was easily gathered by Gabal.

Three minutes later, they had a chance when Franck Zambo Anguissa picked up a loose ball from range, but his rasping shot flew wide.

There was late drama in the match with Egyptian coach Carlos Queiroz red carded for his unkind words to referee Bakary Gassama.

Egypt held on in added time despite late pressure from the hosts, to force the game to penalties.

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