[AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS]Revenge was sweet for Egypt, which crushed Algeria, 4-0, in the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Benguela and kept its bid alive for a third straight African championship. Algeria finished with eight players when Rafik Halliche, Nader Belhadjand goalie Faouzi Chaouchiwere ejected in separate incidents, and afterwards the Algeria coach, Rabah Saadane, blamed the loss on a plan to get the Desert Foxes.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saluted the Pharaohs' "remarkable performance" that came two months after their loss to Algeria in a playoff game knocked them out of the 2010 World Cup and touched off rioting in Cairo.
Halliche's second yellow came on a foul that resulted in a penalty converted by Hosni Abd Rabou in the 39th minute.
Mohamed Zidan added to Egypt's lead in the 65th minute, and substitutes Mohamed Abdelshafiand Mohamed Naguicontributed late goals.
Belhadj's straight red card for a two-footed challenge could keep him out of the opening game of the World Cup against Slovenia on June 13.
Chaouchi also made an early exit for a second yellow card, though he could have been sent off for his vehement protest of the first-half penalty.
Beforehand, Zidan said the game meant everything to the Egyptians.
"It is a matter of life and death," he said. "It is like a war for both teams, and for us it is a chance to show that we are the better team and deserve to be at the World Cup."
The win extended Egypt's unbeaten streak in the Africa Cup of Nations to a record 18 games.
Afterward, Saadane preferred to look ahead to the World Cup.
"This is a young team," he said. "Experience here will prepare us very well for the World Cup."
Saadane blamed the loss on Benin referee Koffi Codjia.
"The referee decided the outcome," he said. "There was a plan against us when he gave our best defender [Halliche] a red card for what was not a penalty. And when we had to play with three men down, it was impossible to come back against a team like Egypt, who play the ball around very well."