Saturday, 29 January 2022 20:37

Karl Toko Ekambi brace eases hosts into AFCON semi-finals.

Staff Reporter.

Karl Toko Ekambi scored twice as hosts Cameroon booked a place in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals with a 2-0 quarter-final win over lowly-ranked Gambia.

Toko Ekambi headed his country ahead in the 50th minute, glancing in from Collins Fai's right-wing cross.

It became 2-0 seven minutes later with Toko Ekambi finishing at the back post following Martin Hongla's low delivery.

Cameroon will play either Egypt or Morocco in the semi-final on Thursday, with the final next Sunday.

The Gambia were competing in the tournament for the first time and beat Mauritania and Tunisia in the group phase to reach the knockout stages, before eliminating Guinea in the last 16.

But, in front of a passionate home crowd at Japoma Stadium in Douala, The Gambia were outclassed and could have fallen behind in the first half.

Fai fired into the side-netting from 30 yards before Vincent Aboubakar - the tournament's leading goalscorer with six - glanced a header just wide, and was then denied from another close-range header as goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye produced an excellent save.

However, The Gambia's resistance was broken early in the second half as Toko Ekambi rose above defender James Gomez to head five-time Afcon winners Cameroon into the lead with his fourth goal of the tournament.

His fifth came shortly afterwards, when he got on the end of Hongla's inviting cross.

Security was increased at the Japoma Stadium in Douala following the deadly crush that left eight fans dead at Cameroon's last game.

Cameroon authorities said they had placed 250 extra police officers at the Japoma Stadium, while yellow-vested security officials formed a line between the crowd and the field during the game.

That incident at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde is the subject of an investigation by officials, which could yet see the venue removed as host of the Africa Cup of Nations final on February 6.

The other semi-final will see the winners of Saturday's second match, Burkina Faso v Tunisia, play either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea.