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Pharaohs eat Lions for starters

Egypt started the African Nations Cup in style, with a 4-2 thrashing of Cameroon. Samuel Eto'o's men did threaten the defending champions, but it wasn't enough after trailing 3-0 at half-time. (Report: C. Casali)

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Mohamed Zidan scored a first-half double as title holders Egypt made an impressive start in the African Nations Cup with a 4-2 thrashing of Cameroon on Tuesday.

The striker netted in the 17th minute and in first half stoppage time as Egypt went 3-0 up at the interval in the Group C game at Kumasi's Baba Yara stadium.

Midfielder Hosni Abd Rabou also scored twice, putting Egypt ahead with a 14th-minute penalty and adding a powerful shot nine minutes from time.

Samuel Eto'o pulled two back for Cameroon, heading in a cross six minutes into the second half and converting a penalty just before the final whistle.

Egypt showed the title they won two years ago on home turf, their fifth all told, was no fluke and sent a serious warning to the other contenders.

"We are not here just to be part of the tournament, we are here to win a second successive title," Zidan told Ghanaian television channel TV3.

"We give everything, we have to be in the final in Accra."

The Pharaohs started brightly and earned the early penalty for handball by defender Andre Bikey, with Hosni wrong-footing keeper Carlos Idriss Kameni.

Three minutes later, Zidan made it two at the conclusion of a sharp counter-attack from a Cameroon corner at the other end.

The Indomitable Lions, unable to control the midfield, were groggy and Zidan fired home from the edge of the box on the stroke of halftime for the third.

Cameroon coach Otto Pfister added steel to his midfield at halftime by replacing Landry Nguemo and Stephane Mbia with Achille Emana and Alexandre Song.

The 2002 champions' bright start to the second half was rewarded when Eto'o headed home a cross from the right on 51 minutes.

But Egypt coach Hassan Shehata locked the door five minutes later when he replaced Zidan with defender Ahmed Al Muhammadi and Hosni secured victory with a strike from 25 metres.

Eto'o's stoppage-time penalty took him to within one goal of the Nations Cup record of 14 set by Ivory Coast's Laurent Pokou in 1970.

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