AFCON: Cameroon bounce Ghana late, advance to 2017 final

AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
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FRANCEVILLE, Gabon (AP) Cameroon set up an African Cup of Nations final against Egypt and inflicted another painful experience on Ghana with a 2-0 win in the second semifinal on Thursday.

Defender Michael Ngadeu scored the first in the 72nd minute, pouncing on poor Ghana defending when the Ghanaians looked more likely to score.

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Christian Bassogog rounded off a counterattack in injury time, running through on Ghana’s goal unchallenged to seal Cameroon’s place in the final as a desperate Ghana threw everyone forward in search of an equalizer.

It sent Cameroon through to its sixth African Cup final but first since 2008, and Bassogog’s goal prompted every member of Cameroon’s squad to race off the bench and celebrate on the field at Stade de Franceville. One of them booted the ball high into the stands in delight.

“It is a dream. We are going to the final now,” Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said. “At some times we did suffer, but it is a team that doesn’t stop. It goes until the final minute.”

Cameroon, which has won the African Cup four times but not since 2002, will play record seven-time champion Egypt in the title decider on Sunday in the Gabonese capital of Libreville.

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For Ghana, often tipped for the title or among the top contenders, it was another miserable experience at the African championship.

Avram Grant’s team threw everything at Cameroon in the last 20 minutes after Ngadeu’s goal but just couldn’t break through. Even the introduction from the bench of captain Asamoah Gyan, who wasn’t fully recovered from injury to start, didn’t work.

Ghana hasn’t won the African championship for 35 years and has now lost two finals and four semifinals in the last six tournaments.

“We wanted so much to be in the final,” Grant said. “We did everything to be in the final. We dominated the game, especially the second half … The first attack, they scored. It is very annoying.

“I am not happy, because we were the better side.”