Late second-half goals from Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and Christian Bassogog secured Cameroon’s passage to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final as they beat Ghana 2-0 on Thursday to set up a showdown with Egypt.
Cameroon failed to find the net during a first half which they dominated, but Hugo Broos’ side held firm at the back and punished Ghana deep into the second period to confirm a repeat of the 2008 final that Egypt edged 1-0.
After a rather pragmatic approach to their quarter-final triumph over Senegal, Cameroon posed significantly more attacking threat to Ghana, with wingers Benjamin Moukandjo and Bassogog particularly prominent.
They failed to make the most of their superiority in the first half, though, and Ghana improved after the break to become the controlling force.
But Avram Grant’s side endured similar woes in front of goal and their profligacy was punished by Ngadeu-Ngadjui 18 minutes from time – the defender pouncing on a defensive mix-up.
Ghana poured men forward in desperate fashion towards the end and that played into Cameroon’s hands, as they added a second thanks to Bassogog in stoppage time, with the Indomitable Lions hoping to claim a first continental title since 2002.
Cameroon were criticised for appearing to play for penalties when they narrowly defeated Senegal in a shoot-out in the previous round, but there was no danger of similar accusations being repeated this time after they began in purposeful fashion.
They only had to wait eight minutes for their first chance, as Adolphe Teikeu met a corner delivery and saw his header cleared off the line by Harrison Afful.
Shortly after, Moukandjo sent a low cross towards the penalty spot from the left flank and Ndip Tambe hit a first-time effort straight at goalkeeper Razak Brimah.
Cameroon’s early dominance did subside slightly, though Ghana struggled to carve out clear-cut chances.
They did eventually slice through the Cameroon defence, however, as Jordan Ayew raced on to Christian Atsu’s through-ball and shot right across the face of goal from a tight angle.
Ghana improved after the break and they felt aggrieved about not being awarded a penalty early in the second half after Thomas Partey’s half-volley appeared to deflect off Teikeu’s arm in the area.
Mubarak Wakaso was the next to go close, forcing an acrobatic – albeit straightforward – save from Fabrice Ondoa with his curling 25-yard free-kick.
Ghana continued to apply meaningful pressure, but Ondoa and Cameroon held firm at the back.
The same could not be said about Ghana’s defence, however, as a mix-up between Brimah and centre-back John Boye from a routine Cameroon free-kick allowed Ngadeu-Ngadjui to finish into an empty net from a tight angle.
Cameroon’s solid defensive unit then took over, keeping their opponents at bay and they eventually wrapped things up in the third minute of stoppage time, as Bassogog raced clear on the break and supplied a cool finish past Brimah.