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Cameroon 0-0 Egypt (1-3 pens): Abou Gabal’s heroics end Indomitable Lions’ dreams

The 33-year-old goalkeeper produced impressive saves in 120 minutes of football before stepping up to save two penalties in the shoot-out.

Egypt have knocked Cameroon out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to book their spot in the final with a 3-1 win via the penalty shoot-out.120 minutes of football was not enough to separate the two teams at the Olembe Stadium until the game went into penalties and the Indomitable Lions missed three attempts.As expected, Thursday’s encounter started with high intensity but it was Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz who was first cautioned by referee Papa Gassama as he tried to express his frustration in the 11th minute.

Four minutes later, Karl Toko Ekambi found his way into the Pharoahs box with his dazzling run but his shot lacked power to move goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal.

Cameroon continued pressing for the opening goal with another effort in the 17th minute but Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui’s header, off Moumi Ngamaleu’s corner-kick, was denied by the crossbar and the rebound that dropped in front of Vincent Aboubakar was blocked for another set-piece.

The resulting corner led to another good chance with Anguissa flipping a back pass but Ngadeu-Ngadjui did not connect well with it.

A minute after the half-hour mark, Toko Ekambi had a loose ball in front of him but he did not take his chance.

Egypt, on the other hand, got a free-kick after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Ngamaleu.

The Pharoahs made a bright start to the second 45 minutes and they had their chance in the 56th minute when Martin Hongla made a back pass that was intercepted by Salah but the Liverpool star could not find his way past goalkeeper Andre Onana who rushed out to make a decisive stop.

Salah clearly expressed his frustration after missing the chance by hitting his hands on the floor.Cameroon responded with an attacking move that nearly resulted in a goal but Samuel Goumet’s stunning shot from outside the penalty area rattled the woodwork.Coach Queiroz was then given his marching orders because of his failure to control his reactions.The expulsion of the Portuguese coach left Egypt in the hands of the team manager because assistant coach Roger De Sa is serving a four-match ban from Caf.

The 90 minutes ended with more tension with another Egyptian official shown a yellow card on the bench.

Cameroon, however, were undeterred by their opponents’ reactions and they continued their push to break the deadlock in the first few minutes of extra-time.

Second-half substitute James Lea Siliki tried to convert a free-kick with goalkeeper Abou Gabal out of his line.

Towards the end of the closing stages of extra-time, the Pharaohs made a strange decision by replacing striker Mohamed Sherif in the 117th minute, 12 minutes after he came on for Mostafa Mohamed.

Egypt had a perfect chance to bury the game at the death but Ramadan Sobhi’s cross inside the box was narrowly missed by three players close to the goal.

The penalty shoot-out started with Cameroon and it was converted by Aboubakar while Zizo also sent Onana the wrong way.

Goalkeeper Abou Gabal saved from Henry Moukoudi while Mohamed Abdelmonem put Egypt in front by sending Onana the wrong way again.Lea Siliki stepped up for the third attempt but it was parried by the Egypt goalkeeper while Mohanad Lasheen converted his effort. Clinton Njie finally ended the Indomitable Lions’ dreams after placing the fourth effort off target.The result means Egypt will now face Senegal in the final billed for the Olembe Stadium on Sunday while Cameroon will fight for third-place against Burkina Faso on Saturday.

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