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Egypt make final as Algeria see red

January 29, 2010

Egypt celebrate after Hosni's controversial penalty - BBC

Egypt took a huge step towards retaining the African Nations Cup with a 4-0 victory over bitter rivals Algeria last night.

The two sides met in a World Cup playoff last year after being level at the end of the group stage – a match Algeria won, somewhat unexpectedly. Yesterday was a different story.

Hosni began the rout with a cheeky penalty after Algerian defender Halliche was dismissed for a second yellow card for bringing down tournament hotshot Emad Moteab. Hosni side-footed past Faouzi Chaouchi after pausing just before striking. The outraged goalkeeper raced to confront the referee, who had awarded the goal, and was mystifyingly allowed to stay on the pitch after aiming a headbutt at the man in black (or, in this case, blue). Hosni’s penalty was probably against the letter of the law, though it remains to be seen whether the correct remedy is to attack the referee. In any case, Egypt took a one-nil lead into half-time.

Quarter of an hour into the second half, Mohammed Zidan – a man in form -turned Nadir Belhadj on the edge of the area and fired a wonderful shot into the top corner.

The superb Mohammed Zidan makes it 2-0 - BBC

Belhadj has shown his irresponsible streak at times in the Premiership, and his appalling lunge on Ahmed Al Muhammadi minutes later led to another deserved dismissal. At two goals and two men down, Algeria were always likely to struggle.

The eccentric goalkeeping of Chaouchi contributed to the third, as Mohamed Abdelshafy, who had only just come on, lashed past him at the near post after the Pharoahs exploited their advantage down the left.

Things were to get better for the Egyptians when Chaouchi finally saw red for attempting to kick Mohamed Gedo, who advanced on goal. The keeper responded badly to his second yellow, angrily tearing his shirt off as he walked off.

Gedo got his goal shortly after to complete the thrashing, scoring Egypt’s fourth of the night – and his fourth of the tournament – when he beat the offside trap to slide home.

Algeria looked nowhere near the side that beat Ivory Coast, and more like the one that were dispatched by Malawi.

Egypt, though, are worthy finalists, producing one of the performances of the tournament to beat Nigeria in the group stage and then beating much-fancied Cameroon in the quarters.

They now face Ghana on Sunday, and should go into the game as favourites to win their third straight AFCON.

It could be a cracker.

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