In what appears a repeat of the 2008 semifinal clash, Cameroon again stopped Ghana’s Black Stars from reaching the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. Indomitable Lions’ Michael Ngadeu and Christian Bassogog both scored second half goals as Cameroon won 2-0 to set up final clash with Pharaohs of Egypt in Libreville on Sunday.
And so, Ghana’s trophy drought continued in the continental football show piece they last won in Libya in 1982. The defeat to the Cameroonians is Black Stars’ sixth consecutive AFCON semi-final loss. Ghana dominated the encounter but had no goal to show for the beautiful played characterized with too many misses.
In the 72nd minute Black Stars’ goalkeeper, Razak Brimah, failed to deal with a free-kick into his area and John Boye’s weak defensive header merely served as an assist for Ngadeu to control and fire home for the opening goal for the hungry Lions.
But hopes of a Ghana come-back faded when Bassogog dashed away to clinch the second goal in the third minute of added time to seal Cameroon’s secured berth in the final. The victory sparked wild celebrations in the Lions’ den.
The Black Stars, who have still never beaten Cameroon at the competition, will now go to Port-Gentil for a third-place play-off against Burkina Faso on Saturday.
Just as in their quarterfinal win against DR Congo, the Ghanaians were once again without Asamoah Gyan at kick-off as their captain struggled to shake off a groin injury.
In his absence, the Black Stars were second best for most of the first half and the Cameroonians were unfortunate not to be in front after a lively start to the match.
Adolphe Teikeu saw his header from a Benjamin Moukandjo corner cleared off the line by Harrison Afful and Razak had to get down to save when Robert Ndip Tambe swept a Moukandjo cross towards goal.
Moukandjo, the France-based captain of this inexperienced Cameroon side, also headed onto the roof of the net as the Ghanaians weathered the storm.
With Andre Ayew struggling to get into the game from his position on the left flank, Avram Grant’s side made little impression going forward until five minutes before half-time.
That was when Christian Atsu’s pass into the box split the Cameroonian defence and found Jordan Ayew, whose shot from a tight angle whistled just wide of Fabrice Ondoa’s far post.
In a reversal of roles, Black Stars were the better team at the start of the second half with the lightning quick winger Atsu their main source of danger.
When one of his runs was illegally halted outside the area, Mubarak Wakaso whipped in the resulting free-kick and Ondoa flew high to his right to turn the ball behind.
The Indomitable Lions steadied themselves and got the breakthrough from a set-piece of their own, the goal Cameroon’s first in almost five hours since Ngadeu netted the winner against Guinea-Bissau in the group stage.