The Pharaohs of Egypt got the better of the Atlas Lions of Morocco in what was a hugely enthralling all North African encounter. Both sides came into the match with the remaining semifinal spot at stake after Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana had picked their places in the last four of the competition and the Pharaohs were the ones cheering their way onto a date with Burkina Faso on Wednesday after Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim scored very late into the game to break Moroccan hearts.
The game took shape instantly at the blast of the referee’s whistle with both sides quickly coming out of the blocks to show clear attacking intent. In a keenly contested first half, both teams were guilty of spurning presentable chances with Morocco particularly refusing to really punish Egypt when they were there for the taking.
The goalkeepers at both ends were called into action a couple of occasions in the first half but the deadlock was still not broken. The second half commenced pretty much like how the first half ended with the likes of Romain Saiss and Mbark Boussoufa all hitting the woodwork as the Atlas Lions came agonizingly close. In a pretty end to end stuff in the second half, Egypt had their fair share of the chances with Mohammed Sallah denied by goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi on a couple of occasions.
The game had a goalless stalemate written all over it and when extra time looked like beckoning, Morocco were made to rue the numerous chances they spurned. Egypt had a corner kick inside 87 minutes of action and the in-swinger was not well cleared by the Moroccan defence only for the ball to fall onto the path of substitute Abdel-Moneim and he was not going to make any mistake from close range as Harve Renard’s dream of winning the AFCON on three different occasions with three different nations turned into dust.
Egypt now meet Burkina Faso in the first of the seminal games on Wednesday whiles Ghana meet Cameroon on Thursday with a chance to make it to the grand finale at stake.