4 February 2008

Egypt/Angola: Egypt Beat Hard-Fighting Angolans to Berth in Semifinal

Ghana — A penalty from Hosny Abd Rabou and a goal from Amir Zaki put holders Egypt through to the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations to meet Ivory Coast.

Abd Rabou converted his third spot-kick in Ghana on 20 minutes after Angola's Andre Macanga had handled in the area.

Manucho hit back shortly after with a 25-yard thunderbolt to equalise in a scintillating game in Kumasi. But another defensive error from Kali allowed Zaki to bounce a cross off his chest and into the goal on 38 minutes.

It was hard luck for the plucky Angolans who showed technique and tenacity for much of the game, not to mention fireworks from Manchester United's Manucho. However, the pedigree of the champions, who haven't lost in the Nations Cup since 2004, proved too strong for Luis Goncalves' men.

Mohamed Shawky unleashed a low shot from thirty yards to test Angola keeper Lama on 7 minutes, though the opening period was cagey with both sides cautious and slow in their build-up play.

Egypt's Emad Moteab dragged a shot wide from 15 yards out as the Pharaohs started to increase the pressure, before going close again when a cross from Ahmed Fathi flashed across the face of goal, beating two defenders as well as the striker.

The pressure earned Egypt a penalty on 20 minutes when Macanga handled the ball when charging down an Aboutrika free kick from just outside the area.

Abd Rabou shot inside the bottom-left corner to score his fourth goal of the tournament.

Then Manucho demonstrated why Sir Alex Ferguson was so keen to bring the Angolan to Manchester United, when he out-muscled Sayed Moawad before sending a thirty-yard screamer over a flailing Essam Al-Hadari to draw the teams level with 27 minutes gone.

But just as the Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes) were dominating play Kali failed to clear at the near post from Fathi's cross, allowing the ball to continue across the area and bounce off the body of an on-rushing Zaki for Egypt's second on 38 minutes.

Only seconds after the start of the second half Manucho had a glorious chance to equalise once more for the south Africans when he ran onto a headed pass from Flavio, only to push his shot agonisingly wide of the far right-hand post from just inside the area.

The game was now a scintillating affair, and though both teams showed attacking creativity and intent and it was Angola who were proving the more dangerous, when Manucho again caused the Egyptian defence to fret when his 15-yard shot was saved on 60 minutes.

Then Egypt hit back when Aboutrika passed into Zaki on the edge of the area, whose deceptive flick found Moteab in the area only for Lama to pull of a brave and vital save.

With 25 minutes left and the game finely balanced the action was end-to-end, when Moteab forced another great save from Lama with a crashing shot from half way inside the penalty area.

Egyptian captain Ahmed Hassan replaced an injured Zaki as Hassan Shehata looked to maintain the Pharaohs' lead by killing the tempo and hitting on the break, as Fathi did when he tested Lama from the right wing with a stinging 20-yard shot.

As the game wore on Angola's attacks became more desperate and the Egyptians maintained their composure to see out the game and progress to meet hotly-tipped Ivory Coast in Thursday's semi-final.

Copyright © 2008 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.