CAN ’10: Semifinals! الجزائر-مصر
In less than an hour we’ll know who will face youthful Ghana in the CAN ’10 final! [POST-AFTERNOON COFFEE CORRECTION: the game will begin in less than an hour, we’ll know the other finalist at the END of that game—right? blargh] Obviously it’ll either be the Pharoahs (looking to be the first nation to lift 3 consecutive cups, and also to redeem their name after failing to qualify for this summer’s WC) versus Les Fennecs of Algeria (looking to humilate the hated Egyptians!). Pharoah’s striker Mohamed Zidan puts it all in perspective for us:
“This is a matter of life and death. For us it’s a chance to show the world that we deserve to be at the World Cup. If we win this we can watch the World Cup in peace. We’re the champions and we’re a better team than them. Everybody will see who is the better team.”
Simple as that! Here’s to hoping the enmity embodies itself as an attractive sporting contest today!
As always, I’m cribbing off Jonathan Wilson who reminds us that “Egypt are on a record run of 17 games without defeat in the Cup of Nations —the last team to beat them, six years ago tomorrow, was Algeria”. Put that friendly and conversational stat in your bong and fire it up! Here are some team sheets of dubious accuracy:
Algeria: 16-Fawzi Chaouchi; 2-Madjid Bougherra, 3-Nadir Belhadj, 4-Anthar Yahia, 5-Rafik Halliche; 6-Yazid Mansouri, 19-Hassan Yebda, 15-Karim Ziani, 20-Mourad Meghni; 13-Karim Matmour, 9-Abdelkader Ghezzal.
Egypt: 1-Essam Al Hadari; 2-Mahmoud Fathallah, 3-Ahmed Al Muhammadi, 6-Hani Said, 20-Wael Gomaa; 7-Ahmed Fathi, 8-Hosni Abd Rabou, 14-Sayed Moawad, 17-Ahmed Hassan; 9-Mohamed Zidan, 10-Emad Motaeb.
The players are out, and it’s time to disrepect one another’s national anthems! There are generous clouds of flare smoke wafting across the Benguela stadium…healthy amount of away fans, as promised, from both nations. My feed commentator says 3,000 Angolan police have been assigned to this game…let the HATE begin! (sorry)
10 min: Egypt looking silky & determined already…Algeria looking just plain determined. No way I am gonna be able to keep y’all updated on this game!
14 min: Vintage Aerobics fashion enthusiast Essam Al Hadari collects a dangerously in-swinging corner, then willfully headbutts an Anthar Yahia’s arm and dutifully rolls around clutching his face. At least wait til you’re up 1-0, Al Hadari!
17 min: Several dubious injuries, fakery/faqir-y already—otherwise, more evenly-tempered than you might think, though certainly the match has pace and intensity.
???: My eretofore commendable myafricanfootball.com stream has crashed on me…the server/satellite/etc was probably pelted with stones by Algeria AND/OR Egyptian hooligans.
HALFTIME! EGYPT 1-0 ALGERIA! OK, I am back in stream business here. No one is actually depending on this blog for a thorough account of the action, but here is a rapid summary anyway: penalty to Egypt, red card to Algeria, Chaouchi made several excellent saves but also apparently headbutted the ref in a post-penalty dispute! Sporadic updates & thoughts coming throughout the 2nd half…
63 min: Cagey stuff, but when Egypt go forward they flowwww like buttah—sorry. They’ve just wasted several nearly-golden chances featuring good breaks down the left…having trouble finding the open man in the middle amidst all the excitement.
65 min: EGYPT 2-0 ALGERIA!!! Scratch that…Zidan scores. He shucks and jives after receiving the ball at the top of the box, puts the ball onto his left foot and beats Chaouchi to his left. THAT should indeed by that…probably a bit far gone for 10-man Algeria.
70 min: Hate bubbling over here…the Pharoahs are flicking it about, lording it over the Algerians a bit. Ghezzal just kicked Hassan in the back of the leg and it’s CAN ’10 nadir for Nadir Belhadj as he goes in for a (HATEFUL!) two-footed tackle and is given a straight red card for his efforts. Algeria are down to 9 men.
74 min: Egypt are playing keep-ball here…the flare smoke is rolling in again (red flares, not green ones!)
81 min: EGYPT 3-0 ALGERIA! Evisceration time! Substitute Abdelshafi has been on the field for 2 minutes, and he’s already been teed up by Zidan. The Pharoahs are putting on a show…for their fans and also to give the Ghanaians a glimpse of what they’re up against.
88 min: RED CARD #3 for Algeria…oh dear. A great through ball plays in Gedo, he’s 1-on-1 with Chaouchi…possible whistled offside, but the Algerian keeper proceeds by just directing an angry kick at his leg. That’s his second yellow, so he’s off.
90+3 min: EGYPT’s 4th!!! Gedo finishes calmly after a quick passing move, weaving through the limited numbers of Algerians still on the pitch.
AND THAT IS THAT!!! Sweet revenge for that World Cup qualifier. Rafik Halliche’s sending off at 30 minutes set the tone of the game, but all in all the Egyptians just seemed to have too much class.
It will be EGYPT-GHANA in the final on Sunday. The Pharoahs team are 2-time defending champs, have scored 14 goals and only conceded 2, and have bags of experience…obviously not the case with the Ghana squad stripped of its stars. CAN ’10 has not been the most entertaining of tournaments so far, but things are getting yet more interesting. GET PUMPED for the final, and see you “all” Sunday!