In the African Cup of Nations semi-final, Egypt went on to put a humiliating four goals past the eight men of Angola. Yes, you read it correctly, eight. Hosny Abd Rabo’s first half penalty proved not to be as big a turning point as first thought, as Algeria lost all discipline. A game which had been describe as a “war” saw the Pharaohs take revenge for the bitter loss in November’s World Cup play-off.
Egypt had the better of the early exchanges, with their free-flowing football probing for an opening. The game did, however, start slightly tentatively, with it taking a while for the feel of a North African derby to circulate.
The Pharaohs did start to look the more positive, with the Algerians happy to stand off them. And Egypt probably got what they deserved when Emad Moteab went down under the ill-timed challenge of Halliche. Halliche, having already been carded for a challenge on the goalkeeper early on in the match, was shown a second yellow. Hosny Abd Rabou tucked the subsequent penalty away, with the help of a stuttered run-up.
The Egyptian players celebrate taking the lead
Goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi showed another sign of Algerian discipline when, aggreived about the manner in which the penalty was taken, appeared to head-butt the referee amidst the protests. Chaouchi was only shown a yellow card for the offence, but expect greater repercussions when the incident is viewed again.
Egypt continued to tease their opponents with their keep ball mentality, which is hard enough to counter with eleven men. But a free-kick promised the Desert Foxes a way back into the game, only for Yebda’s effort to be well saved by El Hadary. Egypt then had their best chance of the second half yet, as three attackers lined up in the box, but none could find the net.
Mohamed Zidan finally added a second, when his fancy footwork preceded an immaculate shot which the Borussia Dortmund striker rifled into the top corner. But as the game was put to bed, the action was just beginning. Portsmouth’s Nadir Belhadj became the referee’s second scalp of the match, when he was dismissed for a disgraceful lunge on Ahmed Al Muhammadi just minutes later.
Zidan was instrumental to Egypt’s performance
As the game drew towards its final stages, the Pharaohs began to slow the tempo, monopolising possession. But a sudden change of pace saw substitute Abdelshafi set threw, and he finished nonchalantly from a tight angle.
With the game well and truly over, Algeria’s woes didn’t end there, as Goalkeeper Chaouchi, who was rather fortunate to escape with just a booking after his altercation with the referee, was shown a second yellow. His short fuse was burning wildly, as he swung a leg at Gedo.
Mohamed Gedo then exploited the acres of space left by the three dismissals, when the substitute got in behind the Algerian defence to slot home a fourth. Egypt will now face Ghana in the final as they go in search of a third consecutive ANC triumph.