African Cup of Nations – Egypt stun Cameroon
Wed, 23 Jan 03:16:00 2008
Reigning champions Egypt began their defence of the African Cup of Nations with a comprehensive 4-2 victory over Cameroon at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
A penalty from Hosni Abd Rabou and a brace from Mohamed Zidan gave The Pharaohs a 3-0 half-time lead.
Cameroon twice hit back through Samuel Eto’o in the second-half, but a stunning second from Hosni made sure of the points.
Egypt settled quickly, and with a minute played Hamburg striker Zidan was given space to shoot inside the Cameroon area but he appeared caught in two minds and Cameroon were able to clear.
Moments later Egypt midfielder Mohamed Shawky collected the ball in midfield after a loose kick from Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and fired in a low shot from 30 yards, but Kameni recovered in time to make a decent save.
With 15 minutes gone, Egypt took the lead after referee Modou Sowe awarded a penalty for a handball by Reading defender Andre Bikey.
Hosni stepped up, feinted to shoot and then rolled the ball past Kameni, but the referee took exception to the delay in his run-up and ordered the spot-kick to be re-taken.
Unflustered, Hosni duly composed himself before driving the ball inside Kameni’s right-hand post.
Cameroon responded by sending men forward, but within two minutes a ruthless Egyptian counter-attack meant they were two goals down.
Zidan picked the ball up after Egypt had successfully defended a free-kick, exchanged passes with Emad Motaeb and sprinted away from the Cameroon defence before calmly slotting the ball past Kameni.
Cameroon struggled to cope with Egypt’s passing and movement throughout the first-half, and when they ventured forward they wasted promising opportunities with a series of over-hit crosses.
And in first-half injury time Cameroon’s fate was sealed when Zidan scored a superb second goal.
After chesting down the ball on the edge of the penalty area, he shifted it to his left and then unleashed a thunderbolt into the top-right corner that Kameni stood absolutely no chance of stopping.
Cameroon boss Otto Pfister made two changes at half-time, sending on Arsenal’s Alexandre Song and Achille Emana of Toulouse, and after five minutes of the second-half they pulled a goal back.
Geremi curled in a left-footed cross from the right, and the previously anonymous Eto’o nodded it past Al Hadari.
Egypt began to look vulnerable for the first time in the match, and just after the hour mark Eto’o sent a low shot whistling just wide after Geremi’s free-kick had been headed out to the edge of the box.
But any hopes of a comeback were quashed when, with 10 minutes remaining, Hosni cracked in a fantastic low drive from 30 yards to claim his second goal of the game.
Eto’o dispatched a penalty in injury time after a foul by Mahmoud Fathallah, but he couldn’t prevent his side crashing to a painful defeat.