Cameroon’s quest for a sixth Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title came to an end on Thursday night after they were knocked out of the continental showpiece at the semifinal stage by record champions Egypt.
The Indomitable Lions who were playing in their capital of Yaounde lost on post-match penalties 3-1 after the game ended in a barren draw in both regulation and extra time.
Despite having a good share of chances to score a goal especially in the second half, the hosts mimicked the Pharaoh’s sterility in front of the goal and ended up losing after 120 minutes by missing three of the four penalties they took.
The game was already fired up even before the kick-off whistle with Cameroon captain (and tournament top scorer with six goals) Vincent Aboubakar throwing shade at his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Salah.
“He doesn’t impress me much. I say it clearly because I’m an honest person and I have my way of seeing things. If he impressed me, I would say so. But he doesn’t impress me much. He’s a good player, he scores a lot but he doesn’t produce a lot of stuff in the game,” Aboubakar said in the build-up to the game.
Egypt who have won the tournament seven times including three back-to-back titles, 2006, 2008 and 2010 did the work without their head coach Carlos Queiroz who was sent off in the 90th.
“We are very proud of our achievement today but there is one more step to go,” said Egypt assistant coach Diaa al-Sayed said.
Five-time winners Cameroon can now hope to finish third when they face 2013 finalists Burkina Faso in the third-play play-off on Saturday.
“We are sad, and so are 27 million Cameroonians, but that’s football,” said, Toni Conceicao, Cameroon head coach.
Egypt will battle out with Sadio Mane’s Senegal in the final on Sunday.