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Lucky Cameroon punish Zambia

January 17, 2010
Cameroon 3 Zambia 2
Njitap 68
Eto’o 72
Idrissou 86
Mulenga 8
Katongo 82 (pen.)

Mohammadou Idrissou’s late header gave Cameroon victory over Zambia in a five-goal thriller in Lubango.

Jacob Mulenga scored from close range after eight minutes to give Zambia the lead but a dreadful mistake in the second half by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene handed the Indomitable Lions a scarcely deserved equalizer.

Moments later, Samuel Eto’o drilled a right foot shot past Mweene to give his side the lead before another calamitous moment, this time from Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, allowed Zambia captain Christopher Katongo to coolly make it 2-2 from the penalty spot. With just three minutes remaining, Mweene could do nothing about substitute Idrissou’s firm header from a swirling Geremi cross.

It was a cruel result for Zambia who rarely looked threatened until the equaliser. After their creditable draw against Tunisia in their opening game, the Copper Bullets deserved at least a point against a disappointing Cameroon, who they contained comfortably for long periods with their tireless pressing game.

Cameroon dominated possession without troubling Mweene and it was Zambia who looked much more dangerous in attack. Rainford Kalaba, in particular, continued to threaten and his second-half withdrawal through injury removed much of their attacking promise.

Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o on the attack

In contrast, apart from his superbly taken goal, Samuel Eto’o was disappointing for the second time in the tournament and he clearly looks like he is struggling with an injury. The Inter striker’s ineffectiveness, along with the industriousness of James Chamanga’s man-marking job on Alex Song, meant much of Cameroon’s attacking thrust was missing.

Cameroon should have drawn level on the hour, but the linesman incorrectly flagged for offiside when Rigobert Song headed home from an Eto’o cross.

Herve Renard’s side had two chances to extend their lead either side of half-time but were denied by a fine double save by Kameni and an air shot from Malenga from close range.

Those misses proved costly when Mweene inexplicably allowed Geremi’s right-wing cross from 40 yards out – the Newcastle player was just doing his best to keep the ball in play – to squirm under his arms and inside the post.

Eto’o’s clinical finish four minutes later, after a clearance hit him in the midriff and bounced kindly into his path, looked to have won the game for Cameroon before Kameni sent Mulenga sprawling with a rash challenge and conceded a penalty which Katongo dispatched with aplomb.

Zambia’s early lead came when Rigobert Song, winning his 136th cap, headed a Felix Katongo cross straight at Kameni who could only palm the ball into the path of Mulenga.

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