Football   |   February 7, 2022

Egypt to Face Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations Final 

Egypt advanced to the AFCON final after defeating Cameroon 3-1 on penalties, ending the hosts’ chances of success on home soil.

The second semi-final on Thursday ended in a goalless draw after 120 minutes. Still, the Pharaohs won the penalty shootout, just as they did in the last-16 versus Ivory Coast, and will now meet Senegal on Sunday at the Olembe Stadium.

The match was to be staged at the Olembe Stadium following last week’s crush, with CAF receiving guarantees about heightened security and other safety steps.

Cameroon dominated the first half and came dangerously close to opening the scoring when Michael Ngadeu headed a corner from Moumi Ngamaleu against the crossbar.

Egypt improved significantly after the interval. Mo Salah was provided with an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock when he grabbed onto a terrible through-ball from Martin Hongla, only to stutter while attempting to round goalie Andre Onana.

Egypt’s coach Carlos Queiroz was sent off following some touchline altercations. However, they came close to winning in the closing minutes of extra time when replacement Ramadan Sobhi blasted an effort, but his cross slipped the four players in white attempting to attack it.

Cameroon panicked first in the shootout when center-back Harold Moukoudi’s feeble shot was saved before Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal denied James Lea Siliki as well.

Although he shanked wide following an odd two-step run-up, Clinton Njie, a former Tottenham player, was to score to maintain the shootout alive.

Egypt is on track to win a record-extending seventh AFCON trophy, while pre-tournament favorites Senegal are vying for their first. On Sunday, will Senegal beat Egypt in the AFCONS final? They stand a chance to lift the trophy for the first time despite failing to Algeria in 2019.

If the Pharaohs want to defeat Senegal, they will have to incorporate Salah more regularly since they provided him minimal gruel in an all-too-often nasty team. 

Senegal Defeats Burkina Faso to Secure a Space in the Africa Cup of Nations Final

Senegal, who finished second in the 2019 edition, will face Egypt in Sunday’s AFCONs’ final.

Senegal scored three times in the closing 20 minutes to defeat Burkina Faso 3-1 in Wednesday’s semi-final at Yaounde’s Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

Abdou Diallo scored the opening goal from close range following a corner within the 70th minute. Bamba Dieng extended Senegal’s advantage six minutes later.

Blati Toure scored for Burkina Faso in the 82nd minute. Sadio Mane delivered a final flourish five minutes later with a late goal to reclaim Senegal’s two-goal lead. The potential of a furious quest for a spectacular equalizer was on the cards, but when Toure and Tapsoba lost possession in a midfield mix-up, Mane raced away and slammed home a left-footed effort in the 87th minute.

Burkina Faso introduced two forwards in an audacious try to claw their way back into the game and level with eight minutes remaining following Issa Kabore and Bertrand Traore building up an attack that was completed off by Toure’s knee.

“We realized it would not be easy; after all, it was a Cup of Nations semi-final,” Sadio Mane explained. “We were against a strong Burkina Faso squad that presented us with several difficulties. We maintained our composure and capitalized on our opportunities, and I believe we deserved the victory.”

Senegal was awarded two penalties in the first half, but both were reversed after Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema was prompted to examine his judgment by VAR.

Halfway through the first half, he gave Senegal a penalty when goalkeeper Herve Koffi rushed out for a high ball & punched away, striking Kouyate in the face.

However, because he touched the ball first, the referee revoked the penalty, even though Koffi was wounded in the collision with Kouyate and was forced to leave the field.

At the finish of first-half stoppage time, Gana Gueye’s effort from the box’s edge struck Tapsoba. However, he reversed his mind after seeing no handball on the VAR screen.

The man of the match was Sadio Mane, following an assist and a goal to lead Senegal to the AFCON finals.

Stunning performance from Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane has been crucial in Senegal’s side during the knockout stages. Despite suffering a severe head injury, Mane scored against Cape Verde inside the final 16 minutes.

He assisted in the quarter-final 3 – 1 victory over Equatorial Guinea. In the semi-finals against Cameroon, Mane’s goal and assist sent his side to another final.