FRANCEVILLE, Gabon: Senegal’s Sadio Mane missed the vital spot-kick in a shoot-out as Cameroon produced a smash-and-grab performance to win 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in their African Nations Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
A pulsating match produced a host of chances, mostly for a dominant Senegal, but no goals as a combination of poor finishing and some excellent goalkeeping meant the tie had to be decided by a shoot-out.
The first eight penalties were scored but Liverpool’s Mane saw his tame effort beaten away by Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa before Vincent Aboubakar slotted home his effort to send Cameroon into the semi-finals.
They will play the winners of Sunday’s third quarter-final between Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana in the next round in Franceville on Thursday.
The result meant more heartache for Senegal, one of the pre-tournament favourites, whose 52-year search for a maiden continental title goes on.
The first half of the match was characterised by frenzied tackling and wild shooting as Senegal monopolised ball possession but created little in the way of clear-cut opportunities.
Cameroon were happy to sit back and allow their opponents to push forward, hoping to unleash swift counter-attacks, but the tactic produced no chances for them.
Senegal skipper Cheikhou Kouyate had the best opportunity of the opening period. Keita Balde’s cross fell to Kouyate after Cameroon keeper Fabrice Ondoa failed to connect with an attempted punch but the lanky midfielder put his header over the bar.
Senegal continued on the front foot in the second half and Mane’s cross from the byline was met by the head of Mame Biram Diouf but Ondoa made a good reaction save.
Cameroon’s first opening came on 66 minutes as Christian Bassogog fed Benjamin Moukandjo eight metres out but the latter’s low shot was well saved by Senegal keeper Abdoulaye Diallo.
Idrissa Gueye forced a stop from Ondoa in the final five minutes of ordinary time as Mane put the rebound the wrong side of the post.
Cameroon got a rare opportunity seconds before halftime in extra time as substitute Jacques Zoua found himself one-on-one with Diallo but his shot was beaten away by the keeper.
Balde and Moussa Sow had further chances to win the game for Senegal but both shot wildly to send the match into penalties where it was Cameroon who held their nerve.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Clare Fallon)