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Tue 5 Feb 2008 07:11 AM

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Egypt into the last four

Defending champions Egypt are into the African Nations Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 win over Angola.

Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves believed his team deserved victory.

"Normally in football the best side wins, but today it was the opposite," he lamented.

"Egypt were lucky, we created more chances, but weren't able to convert them.

"But my players shouldn't have any shame. Egypt are a good, experienced team, and my side are young."

Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan started on the bench, with playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika inheriting the captain's armband.

Angola, making their first ever quarter-final appearance at their fifth attempt, fielded the same XI that saw them through to the last eight against Tunisia.

Egypt, who have not lost a game in the competition since 2004, had the Angolans on the run early on and they went into the lead when Hosni Abd Rabou converted a 23rd minute penalty, sending Lama the wrong way.

That was the Ismaili midfielder's third penalty and fourth goal of the competition.

The penalty was awarded after midfielder Andre stuck out his hand to try to stop Aboutrika's freekick.

The Angolans were furious with the decision, pushing Japanese referee Yuichi Nichimura as they remonstrated, but their protests fell on deaf ears.

Their mood changed dramatically four minutes later with a moment of magic from Manucho.

Manucho took his personal goal tally in Ghana to four with a tremendous left-footed strike from 20 metres, the ball flying high over the helpless Egyptian defence and into the roof of Essam Al Hadari's net.

Most players use their feet or head to score but Egypt regained the advantage in the 38th minute when Leeds defender and Angola captain Rui Marques missed a clearance and Zaky knocked the ball past Lama, with his chest.

The underdogs almost drew level again with the second half just 15 seconds old.

The lanky Manucho who has been loaned out by United to Panathinaikos for the rest of the season had Al Hadary beaten after running on to Flavio's flick but his shot edged the wrong side of the far post.

Al Hadary then had to have his wits about him to stop Manucho's shot from near the spot in the 61st minute.

Down at the other end it was Lama's turn to look lively, the Petro Atletico stopper charging out from his goal to block a near point blank range shot from Emad Moteab with his body.

Shortly after he did well to palm another effort from Ahly forward Moteab over the crossbar.

Zaky, who appeared to be suffering from cramp, made way for Hassan in the 72rd minute.

Egypt, who almost got a third but Lama stuck out his right hand to deflect Hassan's late shot, survived a nervy four minutes of time added on to keep the wheels firmly on their title defence campaign.

Defending champions Egypt are into the African Nations Cup semi-finals after a 2-1 win over a spirited Angola here on Monday.

The Pharoahs took control at the Baba Yara Stadium via Hosni Abd Rabou's penalty.

Manchester United's recent signing Manucho equalised with a shot out of nowhere before Amr Zaky exploited some poor defending to wrap up the game.

The five-time titleholders' reward is a semi-final date with the team they beat in the 2006 final Ivory Coast, who booked their last four ticket on Sunday with a crushing 5-0 win over Guinea, in Kumasi on Thursday.

Angola, the surprise package in Ghana, head home having proved themselves as the rising force of African football.

Goalscorer Rabou paid credit to Angola.

"They gave us our toughest game so far," the Ismailia midfielder said.

"Now we've got the Ivory Coast. They're a good team, but we beat them two years ago."

Midfielder Sayed Moawad added: "We came here to defend our title and today we confirmed we're on the right path."

"The Ivory Coast have shown they're here to win the title, and they'll be looking for revenge but we'll prepare well for it."

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