(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Egypt and Ghana have advanced to the African Nations Cup final, maintaining their records as the tournament's most successful teams.
They will both play in a final for an eighth time when they meet in Luanda tomorrowday after Ghana edged out Nigeria 1-0 and Egypt thumped Algeria 4-0 in the semi-finals on Thursday night.
Egypt, who remain on course for a record-breaking third successive title, will be heavily fancied against the injury-hit Ghanaian team, who overcame the absence of several key players to book their first final in 18 years.
Egypt had been eliminated from World Cup qualification by Algeria but extracted a measure of revenge with the victory in a game that saw three Algerian players sent off.
Rafik Halliche, Nader Belhadj and goalkeeper Fawzi Chaouchi were red carded while Hosni Abd Rabou (penalty), Mohamed Zidan, Mohamed Abdelshafi and Mohamed Nagui scored for Egypt.
"It's clear the referee spoilt the game. The first red card was for nothing and we were completely deflated by that," Algeria coach Rabah Saadane said.
Ghana turned in a tight defensive performance to beat Nigeria, Asamoah Gyan's 21st minute header the difference between the sides.
Ghana went into the tournament without several key players and then lost captain Michael Essien after he suffered a knee injury in training.
Egypt, who stretched their record-breaking unbeaten run at the Nations Cup to 18 games after Thursday's win, have won six titles while Ghana have won four. Thursday's losers meet in a play-off match in Benguela today.
Meanwhile, Egypt's press lavished praise yesterday on its footballers for reaching the Africa Cup final with a 4-0 rout of Algeria seen as sweet revenge after their fierce rivals pushed them out of a World Cup place.
"Long live the golden generation," trumpeted a headline in the state-owned daily Al-Gomhuria, describing the Algerian team as being in "intensive care" after having three players sent off during Thursday night's match.
"Egypt crush Algeria with a 4-0 win," said Al-Ahram, the state-owned mass-circulation daily.
"The Egyptian team handed out a lesson in football and manners. The referee stood up to Algerian aggression" at the match in Benguela, Angola, the newspaper said.
In a stormy semi-final, Egypt recovered from a painful World Cup qualifying defeat against their North African rivals last November that was marred by clashes, media spats and diplomatic tensions.
"We avenged ourselves and redeemed ourselves," screamed a bold red headline in the daily Al-Missa.
"I am an Egyptian and this is my night," another newspaper, the Al-Ahram Al-Mesai, said in triumph.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saluted the national team for a "remarkable performance", as the Pharaoh's rampant showing prompted fans in Cairo to rush out into the streets in celebrations that lasted well into the night.