Saturday Star

Afcon final fling in Gabon


FRANCEVILL­E, Gabon: Cameroon reached the Africa Cup of Nations final as a secondhalf goal from defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and a stoppage-time effort from Christian Bassogog secured a 2-0 win over Ghana in their last-four clash on Thursday night.

Giant centre-back Ngadeu-Ngadjui sneaked around the back of the Ghana defence from a free-kick and took advantage of a mix-up to blast the ball home from close range in the 72nd minute.

Bassogog caught Ghana on the counter-attack as Cameroon added a second with virtually the last kick of the game to claim a place in tomorrow’s final against Egypt in Libreville.

Cameroon, who were beset by selection problems before the start of the tournament, profited from poor finishing by their more fancied opponents, who were making a sixth successive semi-final appearance, but are still without success since 1982.

Ngadeu-Ngadjui, almost unknown in his own country less than a year ago, fired home from an acute angle after Ghana centre-back John Boye got into a muddle with goalkeeper Razak Brimah that allowed the ball to run through to the unmarked Cameroonia­n.

The goal broke the deadlock in a lively affair and set up a grandstand finish as Ghana tried furiously to find an equaliser, forcing several corners as they desperatel­y sought a way back. But as Ghana pressed forward they were always susceptibl­e to the counter attack and Danish-based Bassogog steamed away three minutes into added time to wrap up Cameroon’s triumph.

Cameroon started brightly and created good early chances, notably when defender Adolphe Teikeu forced fullback Harrison Afful to clear off the line from an eighth minute corner.

Robert Ndip Tambe hit a powerful effort from close range straight at the fortunate Brimah four minutes later to set the tone for a game littered with opportunit­ies.

Ghana had to wait until five minutes before half-time to get their first proper chance as Teikeu’s defensive slip allowed Jordan Ayew, who moved from Aston Villa to Swansea City at the start of the week, to strike just wide from an acute angle.

The second half saw Ghana dominate the game as Andre Ayew cut his eye in a collision with goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa and Mubarak Wakaso forced a diving save with his swirling free-kick.

Thomas Partey and Jordan Ayew then went wide with shots before Ghana threw experience­d captain Asamoah Gyan, injured last week, into the fray for a furious final quarter-hour. But Cameroon, who won the last of their four Nations Cup titles 15 years ago, managed to hold on for a place in their first final since Egypt beat them in Accra in 2008.

Ghana meet Burkina Faso in today’s third place play-off in Port Gentil (9pm SA time kick-off). – Reuters

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