Hosts Cameroon ease into Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals

Goals from Karl Toko Ekambi secure commanding win over Gambia on Saturday

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Karl Toko Ekambi scored twice as hosts Cameroon eased past Gambia 2-0 on Saturday’s in the Africa Cup of Nations and booked a place in the semi-finals.

The two goals came in a seven-minute burst in the second half as Cameroon finally converted their superiority into goals at the Japoma Stadium.

Toko Ekambi got his first with a 50th minute header and then, in the 57th minute, snuck in behind the Gambian defence to tap home a square pass for the second.

Cameroon will meet the winner of the Sunday's quarter-final between Egypt and Morocco.

It was the hosts' first game of the tournament since the deadly crush in Yaounde.

The Indomitable Lions had not taken to the field since Monday's tragic crush prior to their last-16 game against the Comoros in Yaounde, a disaster which left eight dead and 38 injured.

Authorities stepped up their security operation around the ground in an attempt to make sure there was no repeat.

Army officers with rifles stood atop buildings lining the route to the stadium while vast numbers of police patrolled the streets and watched over entrances.

On the eve of the game, Cameroon's sports minister announced a raft of measures aimed at avoiding a repeat of the Olembe disaster.

Those included stopping the distribution of free tickets and banning children under 11 from attending games.

On Saturday, the hosts dominated the first 45 minutes without getting the breakthrough.

Cameroon captain and the tournament's top scorer Vincent Aboubakar sent a header just wide shortly after the half-hour mark and then saw another attempt from point-blank range swatted away by Gambian goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye.

The opening goal came just five minutes into the second half, right-back Collins Fai crossing and Toko-Ekambi nodding down into the far corner.

The crowd were on their feet again on 57 minutes as Martin Hongla sent a low ball across goal for Toko-Ekambi to finish emphatically for his fifth goal at the Afcon.

Updated: January 29, 2022, 6:38 PM