Egypt produced a brilliant defensive performance and held their nerve on penalties to beat hosts Cameroon and reach the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal – the backup stopper at the start of the tournament behind Mohamed El Shenawy – was the hero for the Pharoes on Thursday night, saving two penalties before Clinton N’Jie missed the final spot-kick to send them through.
It means Egypt have reached a second AFCON final in three tournaments and also set up a mouthwatering clash between Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, whose Senegal side made it to the final by beating Burkina Faso on Wednesday.
Salah had a quiet game on Thursday night, managing only two shots off target, while Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar – the current top scorer in the competition with six strikes – was disappointing in front of goal.
Egypt manager Carlos Queiroz injected some life into what had been a tough game to watch when he was sent off for losing his composure over the referee’s decisions. He won’t be on the touchline for Sunday’s final, but that didn’t stop the former Manchester United assistant from joining the celebrations once his side emerged triumphant on penalties.
Egypt were the underdogs against Cameroon and will be again when they take on Senegal. The Lions of Teranga have been brilliant defensively, conceding just two goals, with defensive stars Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo and Edouard Mendy all impressing.
Mane has been their main attacking threat, scoring three goals, though Marseille’s Bamba Dieng has also netted twice.
The final will take place at Sunday at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon.
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