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Cameroon, Burkina Faso into African Cup semis

DOUALA: Cameroon marched on at the African Cup of Nations on Saturday with a brace by striker Karl Toko-Ekambi sending the tournament host into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Gambia.

Burkina Faso joined Cameroon in the last four by surprising Tunisia 1-0.

Teenage forward Dango Ouattara scored Burkina Faso`s goal in first-half injury time and was sent off in the 82nd minute for an elbow on Tunisia defender Ali Maaloul, leaving his team to cling on to the lead he gave them for the last 10 minutes.

The Burkina Faso squad have had to try and focus on football this week amid the distracting news of a coup back home.

The players erupted in joyous celebrations at the final whistle in Garoua. They swept up coach Kamou Malo, hugged him and danced and chanted while he was trying to give a post-match TV interview.

Toko-Ekambi scored his goals for Cameroon in the space of seven minutes in the second half at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, where security was increased following the crush that left eight fans dead at the home team`s last game.

That incident at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on Monday is the subject of an investigation which could yet see the venue removed as host of the African Cup final on Feb 6.

Cameroon are still on course to make that final wherever it is held after dominating against Gambia, who were playing in their first African Cup and caused a major surprise to make it to the quarter-finals.

Toko-Ekambi heade d in from a cross in the 50th minute and side-footed into the roof of the net from another cross in the 57th to see the Indomitable Lions into the last four after the tournament`s first quarter-final. The French-born Tol(oEkambi now has five goals at the tournament, one behind Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar.

`We are proud to be in the semifinals,` said Toko-Ekambi and Cameroon march on to a last-four showdown with Egypt or Morocco as they continue their quest for a sixth continental title.

In Garoua, Burkina Faso edged Tunisia to set up a semi-final against either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea.

Success for Burkina Faso came just five days after the landlocked west African country was plunged into political uncertainty when President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was ousted in a military coup.

`Fm very emotional. Allow me to dedicate this win to our people who are being tested by current events,` said Burkina Faso coach Malo. `The Burkinabe people will always stand up, just like the team. We put in the time today and we want to go all the way in this competition.`-Agencies