CAIRO, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Hosts Egypt became the first team to reach the Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal, after beating Ghana 3-2 in a five goal thriller at the Cairo International Stadium on Monday night.
The Olympic Pharaohs came from behind twice in the game, before managing a last gasp winner to raise their tally to six points to guarantee a place in the final four, according to CAF Online, the official website of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Yaw Yeboah gave the visitors Black Meteors an early lead after 6 minutes to silence almost 40,000 supporters in the stands. But Mostafa Mohamed's towering header quickly equalized for the home side 11 minutes later.
Samuel Obing restored Ghana's lead less than a minute into the second half to send nervous vibes to the Egyptian players and supporters.
Ramadan Sobhy and his companions missed numerous chances with the game heading to the last 10 minutes.
Sobhy restored parity for the Pharaohs eight minutes from time following a rebound ball from Ghana's goalkeeper. It was the substitute Ahmed Rayan who snatched a late winner for the hosts in the very last minute turning a precise corner with a brilliant header.
Egypt top the group with 6 points, followed by Cameroon (four points), Ghana (one) and Mali (nil).
Egypt will play Cameroon at Cairo Stadium while Ghana will face Mali at Al Salam stadium on Thursday as the group reaches its final match day.
Meanwhile, Mali became the first team to bid farewell, after suffering their second defeat 1-0 to Cameroon in Group A on Monday at the Cairo International Stadium.
Frank Evina scored what proved to be the game's lone goal 14 minutes from time as Les Lions raised their tally to four points. It was Evina's second goal of the campaign after scoring in the 1-1 draw with Ghana last Friday.
Cameroon midfielder Evina was behind the first half's most dangerous chance. His precise free-kick six minutes from halftime should have broken the deadlock for Cameroon but for Mali's goalkeeper Youssef Koita who produced a brilliant stop to deny Evina.
After the break, things remained quiet till the 76th minute when a tussle inside Mali's area led to the ball falling at Evina's foot, and his shot was too strong for Koita to stop.
Rigobert Song, Coach of Cameroon, said his men had a great game and deserved to win.
"Against Ghana we surrendered our win the last three minutes and this had us under pressure. Tonight we were strong enough to grab maximum points," he was quoted as saying by CAF Online.
Coach of Mali, Fanyieri Diarra, said the players will give their best for a positive result against Ghana despite the fact they are already disqualified.
"This is football. Sometimes you do everything but you just can't win," he said.