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Page last updated at 21:55 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Africa Cup of Nations as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Alistair Magowan

2150: Before I head off, that question about whether the red cards will count in the World Cup. Despite ringing Fifa, who were out the office, we cannot give you a definitive answer on that right now. Nadir Belhadj will get a three-match ban but whether that counts in the World Cup will depend on how many games they play before then. He will be banned for the third-place play-off so that takes it down to two. The other pair were sent off for second yellow cards so the bans will be shorter. Don't forget that England play Algeria second in their group so I would say there is a fair chance they will all be available but you will get confirmation on Friday about that one. Okay, that's me cooked for the evening. See you on Sunday and let's hope it's 11 v 11. Ta-ta.

2139: Well after all that, I cannot say I am too satisfied. What we were hoping for did not exactly come to fruition did it? Controversy, yes, but not in a good way. The game was spoiled as a spectacle as soon as the reds appeared. Anyway, congratulations to Egypt and Ghana who will face each other Sunday for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

2133: From Glen from west Yorkshire via text: "re 1949. I bet they are not cheering and flag waving in blackstock road now."

2130: Many of you asking whether the likes of Nadir Belhadj will be banned for the World Cup match against England. I'll check and get back to you.

2129: Brummerdickens on 606: "Just seen the penalty. If that isn't unsporting behaviour then what is, should've been retaken."

2126: Well that was a triumph for keeping your head in the hottest of atmospheres. Algeria lost the plot on more than one occasion, whatever your opinion of the referee, and Egypt simply just kept playing football, right until the end. They will now face Ghana in the final and will be hot favourites, all for keeping their cool.

2124: For what it is worth Mohamed Zemmamouche came on and ended up in the goal for Algeria. What a strange game that was!

2123: FULL-TIME Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Egypt goal: Mohamed Gedo finds himself in acres of room and slots home to become the tournament's leading scorer, with four goals, without having started a match.

2121: GOAL Algeria 0-4 Egypt

2118: Three minutes of stoppage time and the game cannot end soon enough.

Red card
Algeria red card: Mohamed Gedo is put through and Algerian keeper Faouzi Chaouchi takes a swipe at him and is given his second yellow card. He deserved to go off in the first half anyway and Algeria are down to eight men now!


2114: Mohamed Gedo, also on as a replacement for Mahmoud Fatallah, goes close with a shot but it is well saved.

2112: In case you were wondering Mohamed Abdelshafy was on for Sayed Moawed, think the goal came from his first touch.

Egypt goal: The ball is worked down the left and from a very tight angle, substitute Mohamed Abdelshafy squirrels it into the net. Nice goal.

2108: GOAL Algeria 0-3 Egypt

2102: A real lack of composure on the pitch from Algeria. Apparently our World Service colleague Richard Fleming says it's getting a bit feisty in the press box too. Be good to keep a lid on things now.

Red card
Algeria red card: Nadir Belhadj loses his head completely and dives in two-footed on Ahmed Al Muhammadi from miles out. No argument about that one and Algeria are down to nine men. Game over.


Egypt goal: Mohamed Zidan makes up for his earlier slip and twists Nadir Belhadj inside out on the edge of the box before firing in with his left foot. Tough to come back for Algeria now.

2053: GOAL Algeria 0-2 Egypt

2052: Oh my days how are Egypt not 2-0 up? They have countless chances to shoot as about five players line up in the area but Mohamed Zidan slips, another player misses it and then it is deflected wide as captain Ahmed Hassan screams at his players.

2050: Ooo close. Algeria's Hassan Yebda take a free-kick on the left-hand side of the pitch about 25 yards out and he whips it over the wall but it's a good save from Essam El-Hadari.

2048: Good chance for Egypt but Madjid Bougherra does enough to put Sayed Moawed off and he shoots wide.

2046: FranMerida on 606: "Just watched three minutes of this game and almost fell asleep."
Presume it wasn't the three minutes before half-time?

2042: Strangely subdued atmosphere after all the histrionics of the end of the first-half.

2039: Emad Motaeb hurt his hamstring when challenged by Madjid Bougherra and he is going off. He's been dangerous and is replaced by former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly.

Yellow card
2036: Oh yeah, I almost forgot that before that commotion Egypt's Mahmoud Fathallah got booked. Better late than never!

2034: Egypt come close to doubling their lead but Hosni Abd Rabou's shot is blocked by Madjid Bougherra.

2033: Ready for more? We are under way again.

2032: Was the rush of blood to the head of Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi anything to do with the blue plaster on his neck? Whatever. It's going to be a long, hard road for the Desert Foxes now, down to 10 men and 1-0 behind. Might be a scrappy one now.

2028: From Tom in Deal via text: "I'd be upset if this ref was in charge of one of my sunday league team's games. He's rubbish!"

2027: From anon via text: "Re 2018. But the Algerian keeper should be off for threatening behaviour, maybe violent conduct."

2023: Shine a light. What an end to the half. Not sure the referee got that decision right in terms of the second yellow for Rafik Halliche after a horrible mistake. It looked like a genuine attempt to get the ball. The penalty looked alright too. You have to assume the referee did not want to send another player off but lordy, what was Algeria's Faouzi Chaouchi playing at? HE ATTEMPTED TO HEADBUTT THE REFEREE! How is he still on the pitch?

2018: HALF-TIME Algeria 0-1 Egypt

2018: FranMerida on 606: "You can stutter slow down as you take the penalty but you cannot come to a stand still. That is what Hosny did. Complete disgrace."

Yellow card
2012: Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi is a very, very lucky boy. He was furious with the delay to Hosni Abd Rabou's penalty run-up and confronted the referee, span him around, and almost stuck his head into the official's forehead. Not sure why he is still on the pitch but he is booked only.

Red card
Egypt goal: All sorts going off here. Rafik Halliche brings down Emad Motaeb and the referee awards a penalty with Halliche getting his second yellow of the game and goes off. Then Hosni Abd Rabou delays his spot-kick and scores. Complaints all around.

2007: GOAL Algeria 0-1 Egypt



2005: Excellent cross from the left Sayed Moawad delivered into that gap between the defence and the keeper but it is just a bit firm for Emad Moteab.

2003: Captain Ahmed Hassan is running round like it's his last game for the Pharaohs. It looks like many of the players are scared to go in too hard for fear of an over-reaction from their opponents. Good game so far, though.

Yellow card
2000: From a free-kick from the right, taken left-footed by Nadir Belhadj, Rafik Halliche goes for header and collides with the Egyptian keeper. It looked like a fair a challenge but after the referee has a wee think, he books him.

1957: From the BBC's Farayi Mungazi in Benguela: "The Egyptian fans here are vastly outnumbered by their Algerian counterparts but they're making their presence heard - with the aid of two massive drums. The Ombaka stadium is far from full but plenty of noise and excitement in the stands."

1955: In the right channel, Mohamed Zidan feeds Emad Motaeb on the edge of the box and his crisp shot is well saved by Fawzi Chaouchi. Good effort.

1951: Professor Chaos on 606: Re 1925 "So with the hundreds of Algerian fans being airlifted to this game, if Algeria go through to the final, are these fans to stay or go back home straight after this game?"

1949: From James in North London via text: "Absolute bedlam on Blackstock Road tonight, fans waving Algerian flags, crowding all available TVs, car horns beeping. Busier than an Arsenal home game! Mental!"

1948: First the Egyptian keeper Essam Al Hadari then Algeria's Karim Matmour go down after getting brushed across the face. A little too easy for my liking as well. C'mon boys, this game has got enough riding on it without the amateur dramatics.

1945: Egypt are working very hard to win the ball back high up the pitch and it's working. Good hussle you might say if you were American.

1942: enjoyicecold10 on 606: "Anyone have any idea why the algerian goalkeeper seems to have blue paint on the back of his head/neck?"

1940: Algeria's Madjid Bougherra has a shot but it is wide from the Rangers man. Lively atmosphere, but I didn't really need to say that did I? Good opening from both teams.

1937: Nothing comes from the corner but Egypt already look threatening. They are feeding the ball down the channel and finding lots of space.

1936: Good break down the right for Egypt but when the cross comes in along the floor on the six-yard line, Mohamed Zidan decides not to gamble and it rolls across the face. Zidan then gets in front of his man from another centre and it is blocked by Madjid Bougherra. Corner.

1934: Algeria's Mourad Meghni hits a free-kick from miles out and, with the technique that Cristiano Ronaldo uses, it looks like it's going way over but dips and is not far away.

1931: Algeria's Rafik Halliche misses the ball, falls over and then accidently trips one of the Egyptian forwards in the penalty area. A shout from the crowd but no spot-kick. Scrappy start with a few fouls flying about.

1930: Bit of flare smoke in the air, stadium looking about half-full and, after a little pause, we're off in Benguela.

1928: Fifa chief Sepp Blatter is in the crowd and I'm sure he was in the other semi-final in Luanda. Must have brought his chopper.

1925: The teams are out on the pitch singing the national anthems and the stadium is busy with all those Algerian fans the government flew in. I wish the British government would do that. Anyone know someone who got the nod?

1923: BulletMonkey on 606: "It's a bit of a joke really when the team that has dominated the Africa Cup of Nations isn't even good enough to make the World Cup for the past several years."

1920: From anon via text: "I'm sure that Egypt will win 2-0 to face Ghana in final "

1917: You may have heard that Egypt and Algeria suspended media activities this week. Not sure whether that was a move to diffuse things or not.

1914: TEAM NEWS Algeria v Egypt
Both Egypt and Algeria are full-strength and unchanged from their quarter-final matches. Pharaohs captain Ahmed Hassan collects his 171st cap.

1912: galafan87 on 606: "I fancied Algeria at the start of the tournament and the Malawi result was a bit of a shock for me but let's bare in mind that Algeria was the team that knocked out Egypt for the world cup play-off."

1909: TEAMS Algeria v Egypt
Algeria: Chaouchi, Belhadj, Bougherra, Yahia, Halliche, Matmour, Meghni, Ziani, Mansouri, Yebda, Ghezzal
Egypt: El Hadari, Fathallah, Said, Gomaa, Fathi, Moawad, Abd Rabou, Hassan, Al Muhammadi, Zidan, Motaeb.

1906: Speaking of catalysts, you may recall Algeria started the tournament by losing 3-0 to Malawi. Captain Yazid Mansouri said this week: "We lacked humility and paid the price....luckily we reacted with pride and self-esteem." And some. The victory over Ivory Coast was a sweet one but now they come up against the Pharaohs who are unbeaten in Angola and on hat-trick of Nations Cup titles.

1900: Got your hard hats ready? This is Algeria v Egypt part.... well it fair to say there is some previous. Last time they played it was in a World Cup play-off with the Desert Foxes winning 1-0 to qualify for South Africa. The Algerian team said their previous World Cup qualifier experience, when they lost 2-0 to Egypt in Cairo, was the catalyst for the victory. Now will be they as motivated as the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions?

1818: So not exactly a ringing endorsement from the Nigerian captain for coach Shaibu Amodu's tactics, eh? Think he will survive until the World Cup? Doubt it. Don't forget we've got live text commentary of Algeria v Egypt right here from 1900 GMT this evening. You can also watch the game right here if you live in the UK and you can watch it on the box on BBC Three from 1900 GMT as well. Kick-off is 1930 GMT and never has that phrase been so apt. Back shortly, I'm off for some tea.

1815: Nigeria captain Peter Odemwingie: "I think we have used all the luck we had so far in this tournament. Ghana deserved the victory they played very well. We played as individuals not as a team and I think we need more tactical flexibility than to play 4-3-3 all the time. We need to play more attacking football. We played with one striker and it did not help us and we did not get a lot of chances. We could have played much better."

1808: Ghana's goalscorer Asamoah Gyan: "It's very very appreciable for me and the players because it's been a while since the last time we qualified for the final in 1992 so this is a moment we were all hoping for. All the expectation was on me as I'm the leading striker and I needed to score but that is what I did. We are ready now to play any country at all. We are disciplined and we don't fear anyone at all."

1802: Carlo on 606: "Egypt surely will win another AFCON Title!! I cant see Ghana stopping Egypt."

1758: Amazing effort by the Ghanaians. A perfect game plan again by the Black Stars. They soaked up everything Nigeria threw at them and Asamoah Gyan broke the deadlock once more. They will now face Algeria or Egypt in the finals looking for their fifth Africa Cup of Nations title.

1755: FULL-TIME Ghana 1-0 Nigeria

1754: But Ghana clear and they are away down the other end but the attack comes to nothing.

1754: Corner for Nigeria.

Yellow card
1753: Nigeria free-kick is squared from the left and Sani Kaita slices it wide. Booking for Richard Kingson for time wasting.

1751: Four minutes of stoppage time. Might be time to look up "you're getting sacked in the morning" in your Nigerian dictionaries?

1750: No real way through for Nigeria and coach Shaibu Amodu is getting vocal on the sidelines. About a minute of normal time left now.

Yellow card
1747: Nice skills from Chinedu Obasi down the left which takes out the Ghana defence but his cross is too deep and Richard Kingson hangs on. Ghana make another change as Asamoah Gyan is replaced by Matthew Amoah. Ghana's Samuel Inkoom is booked and it's getting a bit desperate now in the Black Stars' defensive third.

1744: JohnoLFC on 606: "How many chances does Martins need?"

1742: Yussuf Ayila goes off for Nigeria and on comes Chidi Odiah. The Super Eagles have used all their subs now.

1740: From Jon in Truro via text: "Is this semi being played in 1930s New Orleans? Beats the England supporter's band doesn't it?"

1738: Couple of balls over the top for Nigeria. Yakubu is shrugged off the ball in the area but penalty appeals are waved away. Then, a minute later, Obafemi Martins is in but he delays too long and the Ghanaian defence block it. About 12 minutes left now.

1736: strike of the cescy verminator on 606: "Yea Odemwingie is off! Relief for us, Ghana, as he's been their best playmaker!"
I know, strange move if you're a Super Eagles fan.

1733: Feed the Yak and he will.... great chance for Yakubu as Elderson Echiejile smashes a cross into the Everton forward but it cannons off him and it spurts wide. Maybe feeding him a bit too forcefully there.

1731: Another change for Nigeria. Peter Odewingie has his spot taken by Yakubu and hands him the captain's armband.

1728: Midfielder Yussuf Ayila is replaced by Victor Obinna Nsofor. A positive move by the Super Eagles.

1726: PotentPotables on 606: "Coloured boots are awful. It's like watching the circus sometimes. Everyone should go back to wearing black."

1724: The game is starting to open up a bit now. Nigeria are starting a lot of their moves from the right and have a couple of half-decent shots that are wide. Ghana hit the post at the other end, but it was more a cross from the right and Victor Enyeama had it well covered.

1721: Good chance for Obafemi Martins who tries to lift a bouncing ball over Richard Kingon's head but the keeper is fortunate as it bounces off his chest. That makes up for a complete air shot by Martins about two minutes previously.

Yellow card
1718: Anthony Annan is the latest Ghanaian player to go into the referee's little notebook.

1716: From Jide The Hague via text: "Muntari also played for Inter against AC Milan!"
Yeah, but he had a fall-out with the coach whereas John Mensah was injured, came home and then played for Sunderland on Wednesday night.

1714: Ghana's Hans Adu Sarpei does now go off after that injury in the first half. He is replaced by Ibrahim Ayew.

1711: Nigeria looking threatening on the edge of the penalty area. Chinedu Obasi has a shot blocked. Must do better in bright yellow boots! By the way, is anyone with me when I say that coloured boots are for forwards only? Obasi goes close again from a run down the right but his shot hits the side netting.

1709: Peter Odemwingie crosses and there are a few nervous moments as Richard Kingson stops his defender's unintentional back pass. Any harder and he might have been in trouble. Then there is a mix-up between Kingson and his defence again which leads to a corner. Fortunately for them, it is just too high for John Obi Mikel.

1706: We are under way for the second half. Can Shaibu Amodu's team turn this around? Will he still be sacked if they lose? Can Ghana hold on? So many questions...

1704: Teams are coming back out and we are almost ready to go again.

1702: Sorry, my mistake. It seems that Ghana's Hans Adu Sarpei did not come off in the end despite getting treatment for about five minutes. Opoku Agyemang was replaced by Haminu Dramani.

1657: That first-half was full of stoppages, what is it with this Ghana team and injuries? They are having some rotten bad luck and have made two changes already. It's an achievement to get this far based on the fact that they are already without Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Stephen Appiah, John Pantsil and John Mensah. Although I saw that Mensah played for Sunderland on Wednesday evening...

1653: So someone asked me for an impression? Ghana look good but I don't think they can afford to defend like they did against Angola and hope to win this match. Nigeria look a lot more positive today and have been close on a few occasions. Mind you, many of the Black Stars team have won the U-20 World Cup so what would I know!

1650: HALF-TIME Ghana 1-0 Nigeria

1649: hornet1blue on 606: "Having just watched a rubbish miss I've got to wonder why the Nigeria coach has chosen Martins up front. Martins couldn't hit a cows bum with a banjo!!!! why why why??????"

1647: Three minutes of first-half stoppage time and Ghana will be happy to get to the break like it is.

Yellow card
1645: Nigeria have the initiative here. Peter Odemwingie begins a run from the left but is decked by Haminu Dramani as he moves inside. The Ghana man is booked for his efforts and Richard Kingson makes a decent parry from the free-kick.

1641: A lovely sweeping pass to the left, with perfect technique from John Obi Mikel, goes to absolutely no-one at all.

Yellow card
1638: Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie tries his luck from outside the area on the left. He's got the bit between his teeth, it would seem. Just after, his team-mate Yussuf Ayila is booked. Looks like another Ghana replacement is coming on.

1634: IAmTheK on 606?: "Our players are dropping like flies!!"
There is another fitness problem for Ghana from that Nigerian cross. Will keep you posted.

1632: A cross from the left for Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie is just too high as his header goes well wide. Ghana's Opoku Agyemang has been substituted.

1629: Ghana's Opoku Agyemang is struggling and looks like he might have to come off. Obafemi Martins has a great chance to equalise when a Peter Odemwingie shot falls to him but Richard Kingson makes a fine save from about 12 yards out.

1626: Very good for the game that goal. Will Ghana defend their lead again? The best thing, though, is that Nigeria will have to come forward. Oof, as I was writing that Asamoah Gyan goes close again when he dispossesses the Nigerian defence and tries to lob Vincent Enyeama. Just over the bar.

Ghana goal: Against the run of play, Ghana win a corner and that man Asamoah Gyan nips in at the front post to head in. Nice anticipation.

1621: GOAL Ghana 1-0 Nigeria

1617: Ghana look content to sit back and hit Nigeria on the break here. A similar ploy to the match against Angola. Don't know which fans are making all the noise but it is trumpet-tastic in the stands. I need a new graphic (that's a hint to our designers).

1615: From anon via text: "The irony in football is that sometimes the unlikely team gets to win the championship. That is what I see Nigeria doing in this tournament "

1612: Nice catch from Ghana's Richard Kingson as Obafemi Martins lurks with intent. Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu looks anxious on the sidelines and as well he might. He was told to get to the semi-finals or face the sack. He's done that and still there is disquiet in Lagos. Will a title in Angola be his only lifeline?

1608: Decent start from the Super Eagles who are looking more lively than in their quarter-final appearance against Zambia. But could they have been any more lethargic? Shame Victor Obinna is not on the pitch, I thought he looked decent.

1604: Gunner_Matt on 606: "Here Alistair, any chance of some impressions?"
Good one. Always one ain't there? You'll have to wait until half-time for that sonny!

1602: Good interchange between Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins to begin the game but the latter cannot reach the lofted return pass.

1600: Right the west African derby is ready and we are under way in Luanda.

1558: The teams are out and the anthems are blaring. Minutes to go.

1556: TEAM NEWS Ghana v Nigeria
Ghana striker Opoku Agyemang will start despite some confusion over him receiving two yellow cards prior to the semi-finals. Goalscorer against Angola, Asamoah Gyan, is also fit.
Nigeria defender Onyekachi Apam is banned after picking up a red card against Zambia while Obafemi Martins starts instead of Yakubu up front.

1550: From Chris, stuck at work via text: "Is it time England got a new 'nickname'? Africa has Super Eagles, and elephants etc. Makes our 3 lions seem like we have gone short of players!"

1548: TEAMS Ghana v Nigeria
Ghana: Kingson, Inkoom, Vorsah, Sarpei, Addy, Badu, Ayew, Asamoah, Agyemang, Annan, Gyan.
Nigeria: Enyeama, Mohammed, Nwaneri, Shittu, Echiejile, Yussuf, Kaita, Mikel, Odemwingie, Martins, Obasi.

1543: Don't forget you can watch all the action from both of Thursday's semi-finals right here on this website if you live on the UK. The Ghana v Nigeria game is on the Red Button from 1545 GMT and Egypt v Algeria is on BBC Three from 1900 GMT. What more could you want?

1539: If you want to chip in on anything to do with Thursday's semis you can text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (the world), tap, tap, tap away on 606 or send Richard Connelly a message on Twitter.

1536: The last time Ghana played Nigeria in this competition was in 2008 when the Black Stars beat the Super Eagles 2-1 in the quarter-finals. And if I need to remind you when Algeria last faced Egypt you must have been under a rock. It was a World Cup play-off last November in Sudan and it all got a bit political in the end. Bottom line, though, in footballing terms was that Algeria won and went to the World Cup. Egypt did not.

1530: So after Wednesday night's showdown between rivals of Manchester, we now bring you the adversaries of west and north Africa. All is at stake for a place in the Africa Cup of Nations final and this evening Ghana square up to neighbours Nigeria (kick-off 1600 GMT), before Algeria and Egypt try to keep their confrontations confined to the pitch (kick-off 1930 GMT). Whatever the squabbles or otherwise it will be all going off right here.

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see also
Algeria 0-4 Egypt
28 Jan 10 |  African
Ghana 1-0 Nigeria
28 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations photos
28 Jan 10 |  Football
Zambia 0-0 Nigeria (4-5 pens)
25 Jan 10 |  African
Egypt 3-1 Cameroon (aet)
25 Jan 10 |  African
Angola 0-1 Ghana
24 Jan 10 |  African
Ivory Coast 2-3 Algeria (aet)
24 Jan 10 |  African
Yahia sends Algeria to World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  African
Young fans cheer on Nigeria
28 Jan 10 |  School Report

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