Mohamed Salah and Egypt through to Afcon final after shootout win over Cameroon

Pharaohs will face Senegal in Yaounde following victory over hosts on Thursday

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Egypt sealed their place in the Africa Cup of Nations final after defeating hosts Cameroon 3-1 in a penalty shootout on Thursday.

The tense match at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde had finished goalless after extra-time but it was the Pharaohs that sealed their place in Sunday's final against Senegal after Cameroon fluffed their lines from the spot.

Three spot kicks in a row from Harold Moukoudi, James Lea Siliki and Clinton N'Jie were missed by the hosts — the first two saved by Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou 'Gabaski' Gabal — meaning Salah was not required to take his team's final penalty.

The Egypt captain will now go up against his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in the final at the same venue. How Reds manager Jurgen Klopp feels about his two key attackers going all the way in a draining tournament is another matter.

It was Salah who enjoyed one of the game's first chances when he curled a first-time shot wide of target after eight minutes. But that was about as good as it got for Salah and Egypt in the first half.

Cameroon dominated possession and controlled the game but, unfortunately for them, the two best chances fell to defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, rather than attackers Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi, who had scored all 11 of the team's goals in the tournament so far.

The first opportunity came after 18 minutes when Ngadeu-Ngadjui rose highest to meet a corner but his header thumped the top of the post and Egypt scrambled rebound behind before Aboubakar could pounce.

Another corner was sent in — this time hit low — that ended up with the big defender but he could not get his feet in order and completely fluffed the shot.

Cameroon were causing problems down the flanks and one cut-back fell to Toko Ekambi whose miss-hit shot sailed into the hands of goalkeeper Gabaski.

The half-time whistle went and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana had yet to make a save but the Indomitable Lions and yet to score.

Aston Villa's Trezeguet came on after the break and — like the quarter-final win against Morocco — provided Egypt with some much-needed spark.

And the Pharaohs could — and should — have taken the lead just before the hour mark but, for once, the usually silky touch of Salah let him down.

The Liverpool attacker was sent clear on goal after a woeful Cameroon back-pass but instead of skipping round the onrushing Onana, Salah's touch was poor and the keeper was able to boot ball away. Salah took his frustration out on pitch, ripping chunks turf up with his hands.

At the other end, Toko Ekambi and Samuel Gouet went close for Cameroon. The Lyon forward saw his glancing effort from a whipped-in free-kick saved low down by Gabaski, while Mechelen midfielder Gouet smashed a sweet long-distanced strike just wide of target.

The match was then ambling towards extra-time when Egypt manager Queiroz, who had only just been booked for complaining to referee Bakary Gassama, lost the plot over what seemed very little.

The Portuguese coach was furious about what he felt was some kind of blow landed on one of his players and a red card followed leaving Queiroz ranting at the fourth official before being bundled off down the tunnel. He will now be missing for the final

The red mist had now descended on the Pharaohs bench as Queiroz's assistant Wael Gomaa was also shown a yellow card.

Right at the start of extra-time, substitute Siliki almost scored a freak goal to break the deadlock for Cameroon when his looping, drifting free-kick landed on the top of the net with Gabaski backpeddling furiously.

But tired legs were kicking in now. Salah had one weak shot wide of targets ten minutes into the opening extra period and Gabaski made a mess of a simple cross that Cameroon could not take advantage of.

Aboubakar saw a deflected effort loop over bar at start of second period but penalties looked inevitable until two minutes from the end when Cameroon fans must have feared the worst.

Ramadan Sobhi surged down the right leaving his man for dead and fired a low ball across the penalty area that somehow missed four Egypt players in the middle. And that was that — it was down to penalties where the pressure proved too much for Cameroon.

Updated: February 03, 2022, 10:30 PM