Nigeria and Egypt complete semi-final line-up

Nigeria and Egypt complete semi-final line-up

Vincent Enyeama on Monday was the hero as Nigeria completed the semi-final line-up at the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Zambia 5-4 on penalties in Lubango, dpa reported.

The Nigerian goalkeeper saved Thomas Nyirenda's spot-kick and then converted the decisive penalty himself to give the Super Eagles a 5-4 victory after the game ended goalless.

Nigeria will face Ghana in the semi-finals after the Black Stars beat the hosts Angola through Asamoah Gyan's goal 1-0 in their quarter-final in Luanda on Sunday.

The other semi-final sees Egypt take on Algeria in an all-North African clash.

In Lubango, Nigeria's Super Eagles went into the game as overwhelming favourites, but the southern African country did not hold back, instead taking the game to their more experienced opponents.

However, it was Nigeria who had the first real chance of the game as Chelsea's John Obi Mikel forced Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to make an excellent save from a low shot.

Shortly afterward it was Zambia's Jacob Mulenga who could have given his side the lead, but he failed to control the ball while in a good position.

A minute from the break James Chamanga found himself in space in the Nigerian area, shooting wide.

In the second half the underdogs had more of the game as Nigeria failed to come to grips with the fast Zambian forward line.

In the 66th minute Hichani Himoonde managed to beat Enyeama, only to see substitute Yusuf Ayila clear on the line.

Just five minutes later Ayila again had to clear as the Zambians nearly scored from a corner.

Zambia had three other good chances to score shortly before the end of 90 minutes, with Chris Katongo coming close, but just failing to connect with a header.

Then Emmanuel Mayuka should have scored with a header following a free-kick, while Katongo saw his shot blocked in injury time.

In extra-time Nigeria started the stronger side, but Zambia soon took over again as they carved out a string of opportunities, which Katongo and Mulenga wasted.

Nigeria were reduced to 10 men in the first minute of the second half of extra-time when Onyekachi Apam lunged into the legs of an opponent from behind and was shown a second yellow card.

As neither side managed to find the net in the remaining time, the game had to be decided on penalties, allowing Enyeama to become the hero.

The quarter-final in Benguela was a much more dramatic affair, in which the defending champions came back from a goal down to defeat a 10-man Cameroon side.

Egyptian captain Ahmed Hassan scored three goals - one for Cameroon and two for his own side, while substitute Mohamed Nagui scored the other.

The captain not only became the Egyptian player with the most number of international caps - 170 to beat the previous best mark of striker Hossam Hassan by one - he also became the first person to score for both sides at the finals of the showpiece of African football.

   The midfielder said that he was especially proud to have achieved the record of international caps.

   "That makes me very proud. It is not something that many players achieve.

   "And also the fact to be the only player to have scored both sides, not a record I have to have, but one that I will take," he said with a smile.

   Egypt will face North African rivals Algeria in the round of the last four. The last time the two teams met was in November, when the Desert Foxes defeated Egypt in a World Cup qualifying play-off in the Sudan.

   The game was accompanied by violence, as was Egypt's 2-0 victory a few days earlier that made the play-off necessary.

Hassan gave Cameroon the lead in the 26th minute when he was guarding the near post during an Achille Emana corner kick. He seemed momentarily blinded as he jumped in an attempt to clear the ball.

But, instead of heading away from goal, the ball glanced against his head and into goal.

   In the 37th minute Hassan made amends for his own goal, when his speculative long range effort from some 30 metres beat Kameni, who should have done better with the shot though.

   Hassan held up a jersey with the number 170 on it during his celebrations.

   Only Saudi Arabian Mohamed Al-Deayea and Claudio Suarez from Mexico have played more international games than the midfielder.

As neither side scored in the second half, the game went into extra-time and there was plenty of drama at the start as Nagui first ran onto a terrible Geremi back-pass and slotted the ball past Kameni in the 92nd minute.

Hassan scored just three minutes later from a free-kick, though television footage showed that the ball did not cross the line.

   Nagui was also instrumental in having Nicolas Nkoulou dismissed in the 112th minute as he dispossessed the defender, who brought him down as he was running towards goal.

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