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Page last updated at 22:46 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Algeria 0-4 Egypt

By Stephen Fottrell

Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Egypt strolled through to their third successive Africa Cup of Nations final, overcoming Algeria 4-0, with their great rivals finishing with eight men.

Hosni Abd Rabou put Egypt ahead from the spot, after Algeria's Rafik Halliche was sent-off for the foul.

Mohamed Zidan doubled the lead, before Mohamed Abdelshafi made it three and Mohamed Gedo completed the rout.

Algeria totally lost their discipline and saw Nadir Belhadj and keeper Fawzi Chaouchi also dismissed late on.

The game more than lived up to its billing as a fiery encounter with plenty of incident throughout.

Despite the huge security presence in Benguela, hundreds of Algerian and Egyptian fans made the long journey for the semi-final clash between the north African rivals - their first since a controversial World Cup qualifier in November.

But this time it would be the Egypt fans returning home happy, their country coming away with the bragging rights after the Algerians had qualified for South Africa at their expense two months ago.

Both teams started at a high pace, with plenty of physical challenges going in early on.

The Algerians made their tactical intentions clear from the off, as they were happy to sit deep and play long, in-swinging balls and try to gain free-kicks in good areas, to counter the organised Egyptians.

The first real chance of the encounter came on 24 minutes, with Zidan laying off a lovely little ball to fellow striker Emad Motaeb, who shot well from the edge of the area and pulled a diving save from Chaouchi.

Four minutes later, Halliche was harshly adjudged by the referee to have fouled Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary as he went for a Balhadj ball, and picked up his first yellow card.

The trouble began to flare on 36 minutes, when Halliche, trying to atone for his error in losing the ball, took down Motaeb after the forward took advantage of a sluggish Algerian defence to break into the box.

Mohamed Abdelshafi of Egypt celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against Algeria
Substitue Mohamed Abdelshafi scored from a tight angle to make it 3-0

After some deliberation, referee Bonaventure Koffi Codjia belatedly handed Halliche his second yellow and ordered the defender off.

After another long delay, Abd Rabou despatched the penalty, stopping in the run-up, which left Chaouchi incensed.

The Algerian keeper angrily chased down the referee and looked like he made contact with the official's head, who surprisingly only gave him a yellow card.

Bougherra was then lucky not to be caught for an elbow in Abd Rabou's face right at the end of a half that promised fireworks - and duly delivered.

Four minutes into the second period, Egypt had another penalty shout when Motaeb again appeared to be felled in the box, this time by Bougherra, but no decision was given.

With a half-hour to go, Algeria finally got the free kick on the edge of the Egyptian box that they had been seeking, which Yebda whipped in dangerously and brought a good save out of El Hadary.

Egypt should have then made it two, with players lining up to score in the six yard area, including Zidan and Abd Rabou, but they just could not get a shot away.

But a minute later, Zidan more than made up for it when he picked up the ball at the edge of the box and danced inside Belhadj to slam home beautifully into the top corner for a splendid second goal.

When we had to play with three men down, it was impossible to come back against a team like Egypt

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane

Algeria's frustration then told when Belhadj was given a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Ahmed Al Muhammadi.

A minute later, Karim Matmour was almost in to pull one back for the Algerians but El Hadary cut it out well at the edge of his area.

Then nine minutes from time, Abdelshafi put the game well beyond his opponents' reach, with another beautifully taken goal.

The substitute scored with almost his first touch with a sumptuous left foot first-time strike from a tight angle, after a great little ball from Zidan.

Chaouchi, who was lucky to still be on the pitch after his earlier altercation with the referee, was then eventually given his marching orders, after receiving a second yellow for swinging a kick at Gedo.

The Desert Foxes were depleted by the time Gedo strolled in to make it four and seal Egypt's revenge emphatically.

Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib revelled in the win, saying his side deserved to reach their third consecutive final.

"We are a great team and deserve to be in the final again because we defeated three World Cup finalists [Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria] to get there," he said.

"We also scored 10 goals in three matches."

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane blamed the loss on referee Codjia.

"The referee decided the outcome," Saadane said.

"He gave our best defender [Halliche] a red card for what was not a penalty.

"And when we had to play with three men down, it was impossible to come back against a team like Egypt, who play the ball around very well."

Algeria: Chaouchi, Yahia, Bougherra, Halliche, Belhadj, Yebda, Mansouri, Matmour (Abdoun 75), Ziani, Meghni (Laifaoui 67), Ghezzal (Zemmamouche 89).

Subs Not Used: Gaouaoui, Bezzaz, Lemmouchia, Saifi, Raho, Babouche, Zaoui, Bouazza, Ziaya.

Sent Off: Halliche (38), Belhadj (70), Chaouchi (88).

Booked: Halliche, Chaouchi.

Egypt: El Hadari, El Mohamady, Gomaa, Fathallah (Gedo 59), Moawad (Abdelshafy 78), Hassan, Fathi, Said, Abd Rabou, Zidan, Moteab (Ghaly 52).

Subs Not Used: Abdoul-Saoud, Salem, El Sakka, Eid, Tawfik, Shikabala, Raouf, Hamdy, Wahid.

Booked: Fathallah.

Goals: Abd Rabou 39 pen, Zidan 65, Abdelshafy 81, Gedo 90.

Att: 25,000

Ref: Bonaventure Koffi Codjia (Benin).

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Africa Cup of Nations tables
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