Four-time African champions Cameroon beat Ghana’s Black Stars 2-0 to book a date with Egypt in the final of the 2017 African Cup of Nations on Sunday.
The final will be a repeat of the 2008 final which saw the Indomitable Lions lose by a solitary goal to the Pharaohs. The script nine years ago was almost similar to the pattern this year, with Cameroon having beaten Ghana in the semis.
But the Cameroonians will not be looking back at what happened then. It was a huge victory for Cameroon whose pre-tournament talk was dominated by eight players who had turned down call ups to concentrate on their clubs in Europe.
The West Africans soldiered on and their performance against Ghana was evidence they are determined to break the trophy drought.
Second half goals from Michael Ngadeu and Christian Bassogog did the trick and handed the Indomitable Lions a spot in the final.
It was an end to end affair despite Cameroon having started brighter. Ghana caught up midway through the opening 45 minutes.
The pre-match build up was dominated by Razak Brimah. The Ghanaian goalkeeper had been fined an equivalent of Sh250,000 by the Ghanaian FA for vile comments he made on Facebook after the quarter finals win, appearing to hit out at ‘ungrateful’ Ghanaian fans.
But Avram Grant, the Black Stars coach kept faith in the keeper and he was justified with his performances in the opening half hour.
Cameroon’s first chance fell on Adolphe Teikeu who saw his header from a Benjamin Moukandjo corner cleared off the line by Harrison Afful.
Minutes later, Brimah made his first save with an instinctive block to deny Robert Ndip Tambe who sneaked in to connect to another decent Moukandjo delivery. Moukandjo had a chance but his header loped inches over goal.
As the half wore on, so did Ghana start getting into the game. They came close five minutes from time with Jordan Ayew’s shot from a Christian Atsu pass going agonizingly wide.
Mubarak Wakaso had also tried his luck with a shot from distance which was safely collected by the Cameroonian keeper.
In the second half Grant’s side picked on same way they ended the first half. Wakaso was as hard working as always in midfield and he had a chance with a freekick that was turned behind by Fabrice Ondoa.
But Cameroon snatched the flow of the game in the 76th minute when Ngadeu slammed the ball home from the far post after Ghana defender John Boye flicked the ball away from his keeper from a set piece, the ball landing on the Cameroonian’s path.
Having gone down, Grant then pulled in Asamoah Gyan who had missed the quarter finals with injury in last ditch effort to salvage at least a draw and force the game to extra times.
But it was Cameroon who had the final laugh, Bassogog netting in the third minute of extra time from a swiftly executed counter attack.