Sports action update from the Golden Jubilee Games in Nairobi, Kenya.
The first football semi-final saw second-ranked Syria play sixth-ranked Portugal in a thrilling seven-goal encounter at Moi International Stadium. Spectators in the stadium were treated to a football festival in what must surely have been the match of the tournament so far. Both teams have steadily improved as the competition has progressed.
After a tense and tactical first half, Syria led 1-0 against the run of play with Portugal having dominated possession but Syria always looking more dangerous on the break. The second half saw the game explode into life with a flurry of goals.
First Syria conceded a penalty for a foul in the penalty area and Portugal's number 9 Sameer Esmail decisively levelled the score at 1-1. Two minutes after the restart, Syria scored on a breakaway to stun the Portuguese defence and lead 2-1.
With the spectre of elimination hanging over his team, Portugal's Esmail then scored two brilliant goals within three minutes to complete his hat-trick and put Portugal into a 3-2 lead. The first came from a great cross from the right hand side which was met with a crisp finish and the second an outstanding strike from 30 yards.
To add to the drama, the Syrians then scored a goal direct from a free kick which was disallowed since the free kick was indirect. Syria kept up the pressure, however, and showed tremendous fighting spirit. With five minutes to go, the Portuguese keeper made a tremendous reflex save from about five yards out which seemingly preserved the Portuguese lead. It was not to be, however, when from the resulting corner, Syria equalised to make it 3-3 when their number 15 notched up his second goal of the game after an excellent cross from the right wing.
Amazingly, with three minutes to go, Portugal's Esmail then scored the decisive seventh goal of the match to put Portugal into an insurmountable 4-3 lead. Remarkably, this goal also marked Esmail's seventh goal of the tournament thus far.
At the end of the match, the Portuguese players cheered for their Syrian counterparts in recognition of an astonishing fixture with both teams aware that had the match continued, goals would likely have continued to flow from both sides. Portugal have become the first team to book their place in tonight's final at Moi International Stadium.
Canada and Tanzania squared off in the second semi-final for the right to play Portugal.
Canada started well and had a two goal lead within the first five minutes capitalising on some defensive hesitation in the Tanzanian defence. Canada's speedy striker Farouk Karim caused all kinds of anxiety in the heart of the Tanzanian defence, including scoring the first goal and setting up the second, before he went off with a knee injury after 10 minutes. A third goal followed for Canada before the half-time suggesting that perhaps Tanzania's attack-minded 4-3-3 formation might be a little too cavalier for Canada's more sturdy 4-1-4-1 formation.
The Tanzanian's drums continued to beat during half-time trying to lift their side. Unfortunately for them, the second half saw more of the same and the Canadians took the match by a comfortable 6-0 margin and given that their goals for-against tally reads 16-0 from their four games thus far will surely start as favourites against Portugal in tonight's final.