Two more African football giants are through to the next stage of the CAN after Cameroon defeated Sudan and Egypt drew 1-1 with Zambia. The Lions' striker Eto'o added a further 2 goals to his record-breaking total.
Champions Egypt continued their march towards a possible sixth Africa Cup of Nations crown courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Zambia in a final Group C match here Wednesday.
The Pharaohs finished top of Group C on seven points and now await the second-placed team in Group D who they will face in the quarter-finals to be played here on Monday.
Amr Zaky netted Egypt's goal after quarter of an hour while hard working skipper Christopher katongo drew his team level on 87 minutes when he shot from inside the box.
Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib said his team achieved their targets for this game.
"We first wanted to qualify and lead our group. We also wanted to finish the game free of any injuries and we achieved all our targets," said Gharib.
"We are therefore satisfied with the result."
"Egypt played well against Sudan and Cameroon but today we gave them a good run for this draw," said Zambia coach Patrick Phiri.
"This was the Zambia that trained in Spain and played against Morocco before the tournament. It was a disaster for us against Cameroon but after this match we can go back home with some sense of satisfaction."
Egypt kicked off brightly inside an empty 40,000-capacity Baba Yara Stadium in the northern city of Kumasi with their small but noisy travelling band of fans full of voice to cheer them on.
However, Zambia also went on the offensive in the early minutes. Skipper Katongo was impeded on the edge of the box after seven minutes but his brother Felix shot wide of the target from the resulting free kick.
In the 12th minute some good work in midfield let in Felix Katongo who raced into the Egyptian box and he found Mulenga, whose final shot was easily dealt with by goalkeeper El Hadary.
It was Egypt though who took the lead in the 15th minute when Zaky met a sharp pullout from the left by Said Abdelwahed on the half volley which whistled past Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
Mulenga would have restored parity for the Zambians in the 21st minute but his stylish kick after some fine work on the right flank by skipper Katongo was held by El Hadary.
And moments later Katongo again found his way inside the Egyptian danger zone but superb defending by Said Abdelwahed denied him the chance to draw level for the Chipolopolo.
Right fullback Ahmed Fathy responded for Egypt but his long-range shot crashed against the side netting just as indecision by Felix Katongo would again rob Zambia of another chance inside the 18-yard box.
In the closing minutes of the first period, Abd Rabou fired wide from inside the box, Emad Mohamed's header inside the six-yard box was scrambled away by Mweene while the Egyptians found themselves at the end of some hard tackling by the Zambians.
Just after the restart Zaky misdirected his free header within the six-yard box over the bar as Egypt piled on further pressure.
A second goal was proving elusive for the Egyptians after Rabou's feeble shot from inside the box failed to rattle Mweene and Emad Mohamed's effort soon after could only stretch the Chipolopolo goalkeeper.
The introduction of big central defender Chintu Kampamba stabilised the Zambian backline, which gifted several goals to Cameroon in their previous match.
In the 63rd minute Egypt made a double change to pep up their attack, Mohamed Zidan replaced goalscorer Zaky while Mohamed Aboutrika came on for Ahmed Hassan.
Zambia maintained the pressure for an equaliser but hopeful shots by Christopher Katongo and his brother Felix failed to find the net. James Chamanga also tried from distance in the dying minutes of the encounter.
Zambia finished the stronger, and Katongo scored his second goal of the tournament three minutes from time after dashing into the box and firing home from the near post past El Hadary.
However his leveller was to no avail, Zambia finishing third in group C on four points.
Eto'o makes history
Samuel Eto'o became the leading all-time African Nations Cup scorer with 16 goals as Cameroon defeated Sudan 3-0 in Group C to finish runners-up and reach the quarter-finals.
The Barcelona striker was level on 14 goals with Laurent Pokou of Ivory Coast entering the final-round fixture and took just 27 minutes to create history at Tamale Stadium before adding a second in stoppage time.
Alaeldin Yousif pulled the shirt of Achille Emana inside the penalty area and after taking far longer than usual, Eto'o stroked the ball into the right corner of the net with Elmuez Muhgoub diving the wrong way.
Eto'o celebrated his 15th goal with extreme calm, returning to the centre circle while accepting the congratulations of team-mates approaching him one at a time.
Pokou, who is in the southern city of Sekondi to watch 2008 Nations Cup favourites Ivory Coast, scored his 14 goals in the 1968 and 1970 tournaments, including a record five against Ethiopia.
Eto'o struck his first Nations Cup goal in a 2000 group match against Ivory Coast in Accra and his tally includes one hat-trick, against Angola in Cairo two years ago.
A fierce critic of racism, Eto'o helped the 'Indomitable Lions' win the symbol of African national team supremacy in 2000 and 2002 and this is his fifth appearance at the biennial tournament.
The 26-year-old striker claimed the second Cameroon goal after 33 minutes, but television replays showed the ball striking Sudan defender Mohamed Khiber on the back and rolling over the line as Eto'o raced in.
Cameroon, who recovered from a 4-2 hiding by defending champions Egypt to whip Zambia 5-1 last weekend, dominated the first half against opponents smarting from 3-0 losses to Zambia and Egypt.
After spending most of the opening half defending in this northern town, Sudan tested goalkeeper Carlos Kameni several times early in the second half as they tried to avoid becoming the only qualifiers not to score in Ghana.
Sudan, whose 23-man squad was comprised of players from just the Al-Hilal and Al-Merreikh clubs, were a transformed side, testing Kameni constantly without success.
Dismayed by failing to score, some of the fire disappeared from Sudan and Cameroon mounted several attacks without seriously threatening to increase their tally.
But the 'Desert Hawks' were caught out by a counterattack two minutes into additional time as Eto'o burst through and beat Muhgoub for his fifth goal of this tournament.
Cameroon stay in Tamale for the next phase hoping to avoid a third consecutive quarter-finals exit after losing to Nigeria in 2004 and Ivory Coast two years ago following a marathon penalty shootout.
The 'Lions' face the Group D winners Monday night, probably 2004 champions Tunisia or an Angolan team seeking a place in the knockout phase for the first time in four attempts.
Date created : 2008-01-30