✳ Egypt 2 Morocco 1 AET
✳ Senegal 3 Eq Guinea 1
Yaounde, Cameroon | THE INDEPENDENT | Egypt booked their place in the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021 with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Morocco at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.
Captain Mohamed Salah and substitute Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet scored for the Pharaohs who went behind after Boufal converted an early penalty for the Atlas Lions.
The derby lived up to its billing as Morocco won a penalty in the second minutes following a late on Hakimi by Egypt’s Ayman Ashraf.
Soufiane Boufal made no mistake from 12 yards when he calmly slotted past stand in keeper Mohamed Kotb Gabal.
Despite going behind the Pharaohs settled into the match and came close to levelling the score after 19 minutes when Ashraf hit a fierce strike straight at Bounou.
The Atlas Lions keeper was again called to action to deny Marmoush as Egypt enjoy a good spell of dominance.
The second half saw a much more ambitious Egyptian side with the introduction of Trezequet helping the Pharaohs with more presence in the Moroccan box.
Salah equalised for Egypt with a close range tap in after Bounou had stopped Abdelmoneim’s diving header 12 minutes after the restart.
The Atlas Lions saw defender Nayef Aguerd’s header turned against the woodwork by Gabal who filled in for the injured El Shenawy.
The two giants headed to extra time to settle the quarter final with Trezequet scoring the winner with a tap in from Salah’s cross.
The Pharaohs will now play hosts Cameroon in the semi-finals in Yaounde.
In the other game, Senegal’s Lions of Teranga booked a place in the semi-final after
coach Aliou Cissé’s side defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-1 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Famara Diedhiou, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ismaïla Sarr netted the goals for Senegal, while Jannick Buyla Sam scored for the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea.
Senegal started the match on a high with Sadio Mane, Nampalys Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly all keeping the Equatorial Guinea defenders busy. But the Nzalanga Nacional team kept themselves in the game with good defending and few attacks upfront.
After 28 minutes Famara Diedhiou gave Senegal the lead when he capitalized on a well placed Sadio Mane cross to score past Equatorial Guinea’s goalkeeper Jesus Lazaro Owono.
After missing the target seven minutes earlier, Diedhiou this time outpaced two Equatorial Guinea defenders and made no mistake giving Senegal the lead.
The Lions of Teranga continued to push forward as the Equatorial Guinea team also tried to close out the attacks.
Equatorial Guinea’s got their best chance after 45 minutes with Pablo Ganet’s shot parried back into play by Senegal’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
In the second half the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea players thought they had got a penalty after 50 minutes, but it was not awarded after consultation with the VAR.
But coach Juan Micha’s team did not give up and pushed forward in search of goals. Their efforts paid off after 57 minutes when Jannick Buyla Sam leveled matters after some good inter passing.
But after 68 minutes Senegal substitute Cheikhou Kouyaté put his team back into the lead with a flick past the Equatorial guinea goalkeeper. Kouyaté who had replaced Pape Gueye after 65 minutes capitalized on a poor clearance by defender Carlos Akapo Martinez flicked the ball past advancing goalkeeper Owono Ngua.
Another substitute for Senegal Ismaïla Sarr netted the third goal with a tap-in from close range after 79 minutes. Mane ran on the left flank and crossed in the box for Sarr to tap-in to make it 3-1.
Senegal had Saliou Ciss and Pape Gueye booked, while referee Victor Miguel De Freitas Gomes also cautioned Equatorial Guinea’s José Machín
The Teranga Lions of Senegal will now face Burkina Faso in the semi-final stage on February 2nd. Senegal who have never lifted the AFCON trophy have only finished runners-up in 2002 and 2019.