Goalkeeper Abou Gab Gabaski was the man of the night as his penalty heroics helped Egypt eject Cameroon by 3-1 via shootouts to book a final with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Gabaski saved James Lea Siliki and Harold Moukoudi’s penalties while Clinton Njie shot wide to help his side to victory after the match had ended 0-0 with 120 minutes played at the Olembe Stadium on Thursday.
Egypt’s Ahmed Mostafa commonly known as Zizo, Ahmed Abdelmonem and Mohanad Lasheen converted their spot kick while it’s only captain Vincent Aboubakar that scored for Cameroon.
The result implies Liverpool duo of Mohamed Salah and Senegalese, Sadio Mane will faceoff in the final on Sunday.
In the first 15 minutes, Cameroon probed with intent, passing the ball with purpose but failed to master big threats onto Gabaski.
However, the five time champions nearly scored three minutes later with two chances in quick succession. First, Micheal Ngadeu Ngadjui’s header hit the bar before Vincent Aboubakar’s rebounded effort missed the target.
The rest of the half and the initial moments of the second were limited with half chances from either side, but, with Cameroon dominating in terms of possession.
With 56 minutes played, a rare chance was presented to Egypt through a counter-attack but with goalkeeper Andre Onana to beat, Mohamed Salah’s heavy touch allowed the custodian to blooter the ball away, denying them a breakthrough.
At 70 minutes, after a rebound, Samuel Yves Oum’s strike from long range smashed the Egyptian left post, to leave the game lifeless.
Towards the death, Carlos Queiroz, Egypt’s head coach was sent off the touchline after protestations following a burst-up between Ayman Elsayed and Cameroon’s Tolo Nouhou, for the final action of normal time.
Cameroon’s James Lea Siliki, who came on as a substitute, nearly broke the deadlock at the start of extra-time but, his looping freekick only missed the target by a few inches to sail over the crossbar.
Egypt’s Gabaski nearly gifted their rivals an opener in the 15th minute of extra-time after he made a mess out of Clinton Njie’s cross, but, was lucky to have it scamper out for a corner.
In the last minute of extra time, Egypt nearly grabbed the all important goal but Ramadan Sobhi’s heavy cross evaded four Pharaoh shirts, to miss the golden opportunity.
After three penalties missed in the shootout, Cameroon will now play the third-place playoff with Burkina Faso on Saturday.
The Egyptians have booked a final berth with Senegal on Sunday at the Paul Biya Stadium.
How they lined up
Cameroon: Andre Onana(GK), Nicholas Moumi Ngamaleu, Vincent Aboubakar, Micheal Ngadeu, Karl Toko Ekambi, Samuel Oum Gouet, Martin Honglar, Fai Collins, Jean Charles Castelleto, Andre Zambo Anguisa, Tolo Nouhou
Substitutions: Enzo Ebosse, Harold Desty Moukoudi, Clinton Nj’ie, Cedric Bahoken, Christan Bassogog, James Lea Siliki, Pierre Kunde Malong, Devis Epassy Mboka, Eric Maxim Choupo Moting
Egypt: Abou Gabaski(GK), Mohamed Ahmed, Ahmed Abdelmonem, Mohamed Elsoulia, Hamdy Fathi, Mohamed Salah, Ayman Elsayed Elsambskani, Mostafa Ahmed Abdalla, Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah Mohamed, Omar Mohamed Marmoush
Substitutions: Mahmoud Hassan, Emam Abdelghany, Mohamed Sherif, Ahmed Abdelmonem, Mahmoud Ibrahim, Mohamed Sayed, Mahmoud Ahmed, Marwan Dawoud Suliman, Marwan Mehany