Egypt went into the game wanting World Cup playoff revenge [AFP]
Two-time defending champions Egypt smashed eight-man Algeria 4-0 in a foul-ridden and - at times - dismal Africa Cup of Nations semi in Benguela to reach Sunday's final against Ghana.

Hosni Abd Rabou converted a 37th-minute penalty and Mohamed Zidan doubled the lead with a left-footed shot from 15 yards.

Substitute Mohamed Abdel Shafy made it 3-0 in the 80th from a tight angle and Mohamed Gedo scored the fourth in injury time.

Rafik Halliche, Nadir Belhadj and goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi were all separately sent off in a game in which occasionally it looked as if the referee had lost control.

Egypt stayed on course for a record-breaking third successive title and took revenge on the Algerians who beat them in a World Cup playoff last November in what was always expected to be a fiercely contested match.

However, the clash between the two bitter rivals deteriorated before half-time and was over as a contest long before the final whistle.

The win was Egypt's first over their north African rivals in the continental championship. It also extended the Pharaohs' unbeaten run in the tournament to 18 games.

Algeria, who won their four previous meetings in the tournament, were the last to upset Egypt at Tunisia in 2004.

Tension

There was a major police presence at Benguela's all-seat stadium, where rival fans were kept apart from each other by riot police.

Semi-finals

Thursday January 28

Luanda
 Ghana 1-0 Nigeria

Benguela
 Algeria 0-4 Egypt

In November, three Algerian players were injured after their team bus came under attack from stone-throwing Egyptian supporters ahead of a World Cup qualifying match.

Halliche's late challenge on Emad Meteeb earned him a second yellow card within 10 minutes and his dismissal.

Benin referee Codjia Koffi pointed to the spot and Rabou fired home the only goal of the first half.

Zidan weaved his way past a defender and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner to extend the advantage in the 65th.

Abdel Shafy took a pass from Zidan and curled it in from a difficult angle for the third before Gedo wrapped up the win with his late goal.

Belhadj was sent off in the 69th for fouling Ahmed El Mohamady while goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi was also sent off for a second yellow card, after a wild kick at an advancing Egyptian player with four minutes left.

He was fortunate not to have been sent off earlier when, disputing Egypt's penalty, he grabbed the Benin referee Bonaventure Coffi Codjia by the collar and head-butted him.

Zidan, left, sealed the deal with Egypt's second goal [AFP]
Fast pace

Egypt's dominance began at a fast pace with the six-time champion creating chances in the opening minutes.

El Mohamady sent three dangerous crosses into the Algeria area inside the first two minutes. Zidan got to the end of one of another cross in the 6th but his shot went wide.

Mourad Meghni curled in a free kick for Algeria in the 3rd but it floated over the crossbar.

Algeria defender Madjid Bougherra made a powerful run and nearly netted from 20 yards in the 11th.

Egypt's first good chance to take the lead came in the 23rd when Zidan skillfully controlled the ball, laying it off for Meteeb, but Chaouchi made a diving save.

Algeria will play Nigeria in Saturday's third place playoff in Benguela.

Source: Agencies