THE DAY REPLAYED — Andre and Jordan Ayew both scored in Ghana’s 2-1 victory over Congo DR in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals to secure a semi-final match-up with Cameroon, while Mahmoud Kahraba scored a dramatic, late goal in Egypt's 1-0 win over Morocco to send the Pharaohs through to the last four.
The day’s results
Congo DR 1-2 Ghana
Egypt 1-0 Morocco
It was a tale of two halves for Congo DR and Ghana in Oyem. Dieumerci Mbokani had the best chance of the first half when he took advantage of a Ghanaian defensive error and rounded Black Stars goalkeeper Razak Brimah for an open look on goal. However, the angle was too narrow for the Hull City forward and his shot hit the post. The match really sprang to life in the second half as the momentum swung to Ghana. Jordan Ayew scored the breakthrough goal in the 63rd minute after showing great pace and individual skill to find space to execute a well-placed, curling shot out of the reach of Ley Matampi.
Five minutes later, Paul-Jose Mpoku came up with a goal-of-the-tournament contender from a quick free-kick taken by Chancel Mbemba, scoring from 30 yards out with a fierce shot that found the far corner. However, it was a lapse of concentration that proved costly for the Leopards after Ghana winger Christian Atsu was fouled by Jose Mutambala in the penalty area. Jordan’s brother Andre calmly-placed the resulting spot-kick and sent Matampi the wrong way, to score his second of the tournament and book the Black Stars’ place in the last four.
Egypt and Morocco played for the final semi-final spot in Port-Gentil. The first half was scrappy with chances few and far between, but the teams took more risks going forward in the second half, producing several clear goalscoring chances. Egypt star man Mohamed Salah’s half-volley from close range thwarted by Morocco ‘keeper Munir’s reflex save, and Morocco’s 32-year-old midfielder Mbark Boussoufa’s long range effort that hit the crossbar were the pick of the bunch.
Morocco took control of proceedings in the second half and target man Aziz Bouhaddouz will regret several missed opportunities. Just when Morocco looked to be on the verge of finding the opener, Egypt nearly scored with a cleverly-worked free-kick. Salah peeled off the Moroccan wall and got on the end of Abdalla Said’s chip but, once again, Munir made a point-blank save. With two minutes left in regulation time, Egypt found the breakthrough from a corner kick after Morocco failed to clear, and substitute Kahraba reacted the quickest to ultimately give the Pharaohs the victory.
Highlight of the day
Congo DR goalkeeper Matampi did not hold back his excitement in celebrating Mpoku’s wonder strike. Reminiscent of TP Mazembe and former Congo DR goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba’s famous unique bouncing celebration, Matampi executed the ‘donkey ride’ dance to perfection.
6 - With the win over Congo DR, Ghana reached their sixth successive Africa Cup of Nations semi-final and 11th overall appearance in the last four. However, the Black Stars have not won the continental competition since 1982.
Wednesday 1 February, semi-final
Burkina Faso – Egypt
Thursday 2 February, semi-final
Cameroon – Ghana
The winners of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 will represent the continent at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.