AFCON 2017

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Nyom claims no regrets at missing Cameroon AFCON title run

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Cameroon has five Africa Cup of Nations titles after beating Egypt 2-1 earlier this week, and the men’s national team returned home to a raucous crowd of support Tuesday.

What a difference a month makes.

Before the tournament, Cameroon was rife with controversy as several big name players like Liverpool’s Joel Matip and West Bromwich Albion’s Allan Nyom said, “No” to call-ups.

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Well, sort of. Nyom says he later changed his tune and was rejected by coach Hugo Broos. After the tournament ended, Broos said players were probably upset they didn’t seize the opportunity.

Nyom laughed that sentiment off, saying his club future was more important to him. From the BBC:

“It’s true, at first I didn’t want to go, but afterwards I changed my mind. But he knew that and he knows what he told me, so I have no worries, no regrets.

“If before the tournament they had told me ‘Cameroon is going to win and you are not part of the squad’, I don’t mind because I’m happy I’m playing for my club – it’s much more important for me.”

Cameroon’s fifth AFCON title moves them to within two of runners-up Egypt, who boasts the most titles in history. It’s hard to believe Nyom isn’t a little bitter at not being a national hero, but we’ll take him at his word for now.

Strong second half hands Cameroon fifth AFCON title

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It looked like the two sides were headed for extra time but Vincent Aboubakar decided to change the script with just two minutes remaining.

Cameroon captured its fifth African Cup of Nations crown on Sunday after Aboubakar netted the game-winner in the team’s 2-1 victory over Egypt at Stade de l’Amitié.

The second-half substitute did brilliantly to control a long ball into his path, before juggling the ball over a defender and blasting it into the back of the net in the 88th minute.

The Egyptians took the lead after 22 minutes when Mohamed Elneny was slipped into the penalty area by Mohamed Salah. Elneny received the ball on the right side of the box before blasting his shot towards the top corner and past goalkeeper Joseph Ondoa.

Cameroon responded on the other side of halftime through substitute Nicolas N’Koulou, who leveled the match at 1-1 just before the hour mark. N’Koulou came on in the 31st minute to replace Adolphe Teikeu.

Traore’s free-kick lifts Burkina Faso over Ghana in third-place match

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It doesn’t get any better than this!

Chances were far and few in Saturday’s African Cup of Nations third-place match but Alain Traore’s last-minute strike ensured Burkina Faso a bronze medal in their 1-0 win over Ghana.

The 28-year-old blasted a free-kick past goalkeeper Richard Ofori in the 89th minute to give Burkina Faso the advantage. Stunning strike.

The game’s first big chance happened in the 25th minute when Ghana forward Bernard Tekpetey hit woodwork from inside the penalty area. The 19-year-old Schalke striker made his international debut for the Black Stars in Ghana’s group play defeat against Egypt.

Ghana brought on a flurry of second-half substitutes to try and bolster the team’s attack, including the introductions of Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew, but the Black Stars finished the match with three shots on goal.

The battle for the this year’s AFCON title will take place on Sunday when Egypt and Cameroon do battle at the Stade de l’Amitié in Gabon.

El Hadary the hero, Salah scores beauty; Egypt advances to AFCON Final

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Burkina Faso finally found a way to beat Essam El Hadary, but the Egyptian goalkeeper got the last laugh.

The 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper with 152 caps had not allowed a goal in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations before conceding in regulation of the 1-1 semifinal on Wednesday in Gabon.

But El Hadary snared Burkina Faso’s final penalty to give Egypt a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks.

Aristide Bance’s finish of a wonderful 73rd minute team goal for Burkina Faso sent the game to extra time after Mohamed Salah scored a gorgeous opener for Egypt in the 66th.

Here are both:

El Hadary has been on four AFCON winners for Egypt (1998, 2006, 2008, 2010) and could make it five if Egypt can win the final. The Pharoahs face the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between Ghana and Cameroon on Sunday in Libreville.

AFCON semis: Familiar faces vie for title spots

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Four teams with recent experience in AFCON finals remain as the semifinals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations hit the stage Wednesday and Thursday.

The last two runners-up (Burkina Faso and Ghana) remain alive, as do a pair of nations who’ve won multiple tournaments in the 21st century.

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An odd fun fact: only one player in this year’s AFCON has more than two goals. It’s DR Congo star Junior Kabananga.

Burkina Faso vs. Egypt — 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday

Burkina Faso boss Paulo Duarte calls Jose Mourinho a “father figure”, and he’ll need some extraordinary tactics to slow down Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Elneny, and Egypt.

Actually, it’ll be even more about finding a way through the Egyptian back line, which is yet to allow a goal in the tournament. Granted Burkina Faso was in a final as recently as 2013, but Egypt will be expected to reach a fourth final since their 3-peat started with a title in 2006.

Cameroon vs. Ghana — 2 p.m. EDT Thursday

It’s hard to believe here in the United States, where Ghana has been a World Cup enemy of the United States, but the Black Stars have been snake bit in this competition.

Ghana has not won AFCON since 1982, reaching only two finals including the 2015 edition that ended 9-8 in penalties to the Ivory Coast. Cameroon is bidding to make its first final since 2008, having won the tournament in 2000 and 2002.

The winner of this one is 90 minutes away from breaking a tie, with each other, for the second-most AFCON crowns in history. Egypt leads the way with seven, while Cameroon and Ghana have four.