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The Semifinals at the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations 2021 tournament continue with host team Cameroon taking on Egypt at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on the evening of Thursday 3 February 2022.
Cameroon put in a powerful display in the quarterfinals to defeat the Gambia 2-0 (thanks to a brace from Karl Toko Ekambi) and continue their dream of winning the AFCON as hosts, while Egypt came from behind to defeat North Africans rivals Morocco 2-1 after extra time, thanks to a goal and assist from key player Mohamed Salah.
Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao was happy with his team’s showing in the quarterfinals, but does have concerns over recovering in time for this midweek battle: “I am satisfied with my players who respected the instructions to go and win the match despite the missed opportunities in the first period,” said the Portuguese. “In addition to the victory, it was our match where the attack-defence balance was the most respected. Regarding the semi-finals, what worries me the most is to see my players to recover, it was a physically demanding match. We will rest and analyse our next opponent and put the strategy in place.”
Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz is urging his team to rise to the challenge of facing the host nation: “Today we sacrificed a lot to be the best team on the field, especially from players who are skilled and who are good at dribbling,” said the Portuguese after their quarterfinal triumph. “The players deserve more respect from local analysts and pundits for their performance. Everyone should support the players because they deserve respect and support.”
Vincent Aboubakar – Cameroon’s captain and key attacker may have seen his scoring run come to an end in the quarterfinal against the Gambia, but you can bet he will be itching to get back into net-rippling form for this semifinal clash.
Mohamed Salah – The Liverpool forward is Egypt’s key figure in attack and will be looking to offer a potent challenge to a Cameroon defence which was hardly tested at all by Gambia in the quarterfinals. Expect Salah to be right up for the challenge against the Indomitable Lions.
In head-to-head stats, Cameroon and Egypt have met in 27 matches across all competitions dating back as far as 1983. The Pharaohs have claimed 15 wins compared to six for the Indomitable Lions, while six games have been drawn.
The teams’ most recent meeting was in the final of the 2017 AFCON in Libreville, Gabon and saw Cameroon claim a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar. Mohamed Elneny scored the opener for Egypt.
Battles to watch
Toni Conceicao v Carlos Queiroz – Cameroon’s Conceicao is riding high after his team’s powerful progression into the semifinals, but he will have his work cut out trying to tactically outwit Egypt’s Queiroz.
Karl Toko Ekambi v Ahmed Hegazy – Toko Ekambi was Cameroon’s hero in the quarterfinal thanks to his brace against Gambia, but he is set to face a tougher direct opponent come Wednesday night when battles the experienced Egyptian centre-back Hegazy.
Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa v Mohamed Elneny – A classic ‘engine room’ battle will see Cameroon’s Anguissa looking to control proceedings in the middle of the park against an equally determined and resilient Elneny – with the victor set to give his team the foundation for victory.
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Semifinal broadcast details, 3 February 2022
Thursday 3 February
21:00: Cameroon v Egypt – LIVE on SuperSport AFCON, SuperSport Maximo 1, SuperSport Maximo 360 and SuperSport GOtv Select 2