Posted on January 31, 2008
Samuel Eto’o became the all-time leading goalscorer in African Nations Cup history as his two goals helped fire Cameroon into the quarter-finals with an easy 3-0 victory over Sudan.
The Barcelona striker scored either side of a Mohamed Khider own goal to move his overall tally on to 16, two more than previous record holder and Ivory Coast legend Laurent Pokou.
With Egypt drawing 1-1 against Zambia in the other game, the three points mean the Indomitable Lions finish second to the Pharaohs in Group C.
They looked the stronger team from the start and missed three easy chances in the third minute.
Joseph-Desire Job picked up on an error from the Sudanese defence on the left and had his powerful shot only parried by Elmuiz Abdalla.
The ball fell into the path of Eto’o, who put the rebound straight back at the Desert Hawks’ goalkeeper, before the ball again fell back to him, but this time he wastefully blasted over.
In the 20th minute another slip, this time from Rigobert Song almost let in Haytham Tambal, but Carlos Kameni managed to get out quickly to clear the danger.
Two minutes later, a poor clearance from Sudan saw the ball fall into the path of Achille Emana, but his 25-yard strike was straight at Abdalla.
But in the 28th minute Cameroon did find the breakthrough after Alaa Eldin Yousif pulled back Emana in the box and the referee awarded a penalty, which Eto’o tucked away easily to make Pokou’s record his own.
It was 2-0 within five minutes when Joel Epalle rifled in a low shot from the right side of the penalty area that was cleared straight onto Khider by Hamouda Bashir and the ball deflected in for an own goal.
Sudan hit back with a swift counter attack which saw the ball laid on for Haitham Mustafa, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area flew tamely wide.
Five minutes before the break, Job rose highest to meet a Geremi corner, but his header was straight at Abdalla as Otto Pfister’s went into the break ahead.
Eldin Yousif almost opened the scoring after the restart when he completed a good passing move by firing a low cross-shot from the edge of the area which drew an excellent save from Kameni.
The ensuing corner saw Tambal Haytham blaze an easy volley over as Sudan searched eagerly for their first goal in the competition.
Bertin Tomou was the first to come close for Cameroon in the second half when he was left unmarked in the penalty are, but he nodded Epalle’s cross straight at Abdalla.
But Sudan looked to have shifted gears and continued to pour forward.
Mohamed Tahir was next to have a go, but his free-kick from the edge of the penalty area flew straight at Kameni, before skipper Mustafa ended another sweeping move by firing narrowly wide.
But in stoppage time Eto’o added his second, latching onto a long pass from Modeste M’Bami before sliding the ball beyond Abdalla to complete an easy win.
In the day’s other game, Egypt secured their place in the quarter-finals with a 1-1 draw against plucky Zambia.
The holders were denied a 100% Group C record by an 89th-minute goal from Felix Katongo, which cancelled out Amr Zaki’s 16th-minute opener, but a point was enough for them to finish top of the table.
Zambia are now eliminated after Cameroon beat Sudan to finish second, but the Chipolopolo went out in style with their late equaliser against much-fancied Egypt.
The Pharaohs missed a host of chances and will want to address their poor finishing if they are to make the semi-finals.
They took the lead when Zaki fired a rasping left-foot volley past Kennedy Mweene from Sayed Moawad’s pin-point cross.
After that their attacks stalled in front of goal, although Mweene was in inspired form between the posts for the Chipolopolo.
Christopher Katongo had a good chance in the 24th minute but was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Moawad and Katongo then fired a 25-yard shot wide as Zambia searched for a way back.
Zaki could have grabbed a second for Egypt but shot straight at Mweene and Ahmed Fathi launched a thunderbolt inches over the bar minutes later.
Moawad was a constant menace on the wing and one of several teasing crosses set up Hosni Abd Rabou, whose header was well saved by Mweene.
Zambia almost gifted Egypt a second when Joseph Musonda completely missed a headed clearance but Zaki mis-timed his own header and it went well wide.
The chances kept coming for Zaki but still the striker could not add to his tally. Ahmed Hassan rampaged down the right wing and whipped in a cross but Zaki shot weakly at Mweene.
Jacob Mulenga should have done better with his shot from the edge of the area but the chance galvanised the Chipolopolo, who then came close to equalising when Clive Hachilensa’s header bounced over.
The leveller finally came with a minute of normal time left when Katongo beat Fathi at the far post and struck past Essam El Hadari.