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Hosts Cameroon advance to semifinals at African Cup

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

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

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

Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar controls the ball, during the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarter-final soccer match between Gambia and Cameroon at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Cameroon is still on course to make that final — wherever it is held — after dominating against Gambia, which was playing in its first African Cup and caused a major surprise to make it to the quarterfinals.

Toko Ekambi headed 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 quarterfinal. The French-born Toko Ekambi now has five goals at the tournament, one behind Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar.

Cameroon authorities said they had placed 250 extra police officers at the Japoma Stadium, while yellow-vested security officials formed a line between the crowd and the field during the game.

Cameroon soccer supporters ahead of their African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

The added security was also because of an invasion of fans at a game at the Japoma Stadium earlier in the tournament between Algeria and Ivory Coast.

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Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar, left, with teammates sing their national anthem before the start of the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarter-final soccer match between Gambia and Cameroon, at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Gambia soccer supporters ahead of their African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Cameroon soccer supporters ahead of their African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Cameroon soccer supporters ahead of their African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Gendarmerie search Cameroon soccer fans outside the stadium before the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Gendarmerie search Cameroon soccer fans outside the stadium before the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarterfinal match between Gambia and Cameroon at Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)

Cameroon's Moumi Ngamaleu controls the ball during the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarter-final soccer match between Gambia and Cameroon at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP PhotoSunday Alamba)