Cameroon will face Egypt in the African Nations Cup final after a 2-0 win over Ghana.
Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui cashed in on a defensive mix-up in the 72nd minute before Christian Bassogog scored a second on the break in stoppage-time at the Stade de Franceville.
Ghana’s goalkeeper Razak Brimah was principally at fault for the opening goal, coming for a free-kick but failing to collect as defender John Boye instead managed to cushion a header straight into the path of Ngadeu-Ngadjui, who smashed the ball into an empty net.
And Bassogog’s clincher ensured Hugo Broos’ team will bid for their country’s fifth title – and first since 2002 – on Sunday.
After a quiet start in which Cameroon pressed most, Ghana had gradually become more dominant but could not cash in their improvement.
Only Harrison Afful’s goal-line clearance stopped Cameroon taking the lead in the eighth minute with Adolphe Teikeu’s header from a corner, and Razak came to the rescue soon afterwards to keep out Robert Ndip Tambe’s left-foot shot on the turn.
New Swansea signing Jordan Ayew had the first clear-cut chance for Avram Grant’s men in the 40th minute, but his shot across goal from Christian Atsu’s through-ball went the wrong side of the far post.
Fabrice Ondoa had precious little to do in the Cameroon goal until early in the second half, when he had to be alert and brave to beat Andre Ayew to a low cross from his brother Jordan. Then just after the hour, Ondoa did even better to palm away Mubarak Wakaso’s fiercely-struck left-foot free-kick.
Andre Ayew wanted too many touches inside the six-yard box from a corner – and then in the 75th minute, his right-foot shot went wide.
In between, Razak’s costly flap made Ghana chase the game and they were picked off by Bassogog in added time.
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A 4-3 win on penalties, thanks to the brilliance of Essam El Hadary, after a 1-1 draw in normal time, led Egypt to a win over Burkina Faso and a AFCON final berth.
After goals from Mohamed Salah and Aristide Bance for both sides respectively, the two teams could not be separate after 90 minutes and extra-time.
And while Burkina Faso had the lead in the early stages of the shootout, it was a complete turnaround as their goalkeeper Herve Koffi and then Traore were both denied by El Hadary to hand Egypt a spectacular win.
44-year-old El Hadary is also the oldest Nations Cup player in history.
Meanwhile, Egypt will lock horns against the winner of the semi-final clash between Ghana and Cameroon, which takes place on Sunday.
Despite being the most successful team in the history of the African Cup of Nations, Egypt came into the 2017 edition of the tournament under considerable pressure, having failed to qualify for the previous three editions. Thanks to Mahmoud Kahraba, The Pharaohs are into the semi-final.
Kahraba, on as a substitute, hooked home an 87th-minute winner in a dramatic finish to Egypt’s quarter-final match against Morocco. The 22-year-old ensured Egypt secured their first win over Morocco in 31 years, setting up a semi-final clash against Burkina Faso on Wednesday. Egypt will now surely fancy their chances of reaching the final.
In the day’s other game, the Ayew brothers starred for Ghana as they edged past the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach the last four. Jordan Ayew opened the scoring in the second half, and after Congo found an equalizer, Andre Ayew put Ghana up for good with a calmly-taken penalty.
Ghana will play Cameroon in the other semi-final.