By InfactNG with Agency report
As expected, host of the African Cup of Nations and five-time African champions Cameroon flies past newcomers The Gambia in a subdued quarter final match of the competition. Playing before a home crowd, Cameroon at first seemed unsure how to break the resistance of Gambia throughout the first half, giving the “smiling Coast of West Africa” some hope that it may create an upset and set up a semi-final tie with one of the north African countries.
The Gambia had reason for optimism, it had defeated Tunisia in the early stages of the competition, whistling past Mauritania and humbling the great Guinea creating an aura of invincibility.
But the fantasy came to an end when Karl Toko Ekambi scored two second-half goals as Cameroon beat The Gambia to move into the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Toko Ekambi headed his country ahead in the 50th minute, glancing in from Collins Fai’s right-wing cross.
It became 2-0 seven minutes later with Toko Ekambi finishing at the back post following Martin Hongla’s low delivery. Cameroon will play either Egypt or Morocco in the semi-final on Thursday, with the final next Sunday. The Gambia were competing in the tournament for the first time and beat Mauritania and Tunisia in the group phase to reach the knockout stages, before eliminating Guinea in the last 16.
But, in front of a passionate home crowd at Japoma Stadium in Douala, The Gambia were outclassed and could have fallen behind in the first half. Fai fired into the side-netting from 30 yards before Vincent Aboubakar – the tournament’s leading goalscorer with six – glanced a header just wide, and was then denied from another close-range header as goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye produced an excellent save.
However, The Gambia’s resistance was broken early in the second half as Toko Ekambi rose above defender James Gomez to head five-time Afcon winners Cameroon into the lead with his fourth goal of the tournament. His fifth came shortly afterwards, when he got on the end of Hongla’s inviting cross.
The other semi-final will see the winners of Saturday’s second match, Burkina Faso v Tunisia, play either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea. Both semi-finals and the final will also be live on the BBC. Cameroon were playing for the first time since eight supporters, including an eight-year-old boy, lost their lives in a crush outside Olembe stadium in Yaounde on Monday before the last-16 win over Comoros.