Football

Can't go askew with the Ayews

Brothers Andre and Jordan send Ghana into African Nations Cup semi-finals

Brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew scored as Ghana beat a spirited Democratic Republic of Congo 2-1 in Oyem to reach the semi-finals of the African Nations Cup yesterday morning (Singapore time).

They were joined in the last four by Egypt, who later rode their luck to defeat Morocco 1-0 in Port Gentil with a late strike from substitute Mahmoud Kahraba, the first time in 31 years they have beaten their north African rivals.

Seven-time winners Egypt, back at the continental finals for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2010, will face Burkina Faso in their semi-final on Thursday in Libreville.

Ghana will have an extra day to rest and plot victory over Cameroon in Franceville, having reached the last four for the sixth time in a row.

All the goals in their quarter-final with the Congolese came in a 15-minute spell in the second half. Ghana went ahead when Mubarak Wakaso picked out Jordan Ayew, who unleashed a fierce shot past Congolese goalkeeper Ley Matampi.

It was a goal of high quality, but the equaliser from Paul-Jose Mpoku was even better as the Panathinaikos winger found the top corner from 30 metres out.

But Congo were the architects of their own downfall as Joyce Lomalisa clumsily fouled Christian Atsu in the box for Andre Ayew to seal the win from the spot.

Ghana coach Avram Grant lamented his side's first half showing but was full of praise for their second-half display.

He said: "We corrected mistakes we made and in the second period it was totally different.

"We played good football. The two goals we scored were fantastic. And when we fell asleep, they also scored a fantastic goal."

His opposite number, Florent Ibenge, set his sights on World Cup 2018. He said: "It is hard to take but that is football. We can't win all the time...

"We must not forget the other objective, the 2018 World Cup. We have to be there."

FAILED QUEST

Meanwhile, Morocco coach Herve Renard failed in his quest to become the first coach to win the African Nations Cup with three different countries, after triumphs with Zambia in 2012 and the Ivory Coast in 2015.

Instead it is Egypt who kept alive their bid for a record eight continental title after keeping their fourth successive clean sheet at the tournament.

"It was a very complicated match for both teams for 94 minutes. We both had chances but we were lucky to get the goal from a dead ball," said coach Hector Cuper.

The Pharaohs winner came after Kahraba bundled home a corner. - WIRE SERVICES

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