Cameroon leave it late
Idrissou the hero in five-goal thriller
Last Updated: January 18, 2010 10:26am
Samuel Eto'o in action for Cameroon
Cameroon closed on a place in the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals after Mohammad Idrissou scored a last gasp winner in a five-goal thriller with Zambia.
An enthralling Group D clash was decided in Cameroon's favour four minutes from time when Idrissou registered with a decisive header from Geremi's set-piece.
Zambia bossed the first half and went ahead inside 10 minutes through Jacob Mulenga. A terrible mistake from Zambia keeper Kennedy Mweene allowed Geremi to equalise and Samuel Eto'o gave Cameroon the lead in the 72nd minute.
Christopher Katongo thought he had earned a point for his side with an 82nd-minute penalty but Idrissou had the last word four minutes later.
The Indomitable Lions were looking to ignite their campaign after a shock 1-0 defeat by Gabon in their opening match, which was also a first loss for manager Paul Le Guen.
But it got worse for the four-time champions in only the eighth minute, and it was experienced centre-back Rigobert Song who was the architect of his own side's downfall.
Felix Katongo swung in a great cross from the left and, in attempting to head behind, Song instead drew a point-blank save from his keeper. Carlos Kameni, though, could only push the ball out to Mulenga, who was left with a simple tap-in.
Cameroon were struggling to create anything approaching a chance, although predictably it was Eto'o who provided what little threat there was.
The Inter Milan striker shot feebly wide before firing in a decent effort that was well saved by Mweene.
Zambia should have doubled their lead before half-time. Rainford Kalaba's fierce free-kick was pushed back into the danger area by Kameni but Christopher Katongo could not direct his shot away from the keeper.
Cameroon, runners-up in 2008, thought they had equalised approaching the hour mark through substitute Idrissou's header but it was harshly disallowed for offside.
They should have been two down moments later, though, Mulenga failing to get anything on a free-kick only six yards out.
And that was made to look very costly in the 68th minute when a calamitous mistake from Mweene saw Cameroon draw level.
Geremi sent in a hopeful cross from the right wing that the Zambia keeper inexplicably helped into his own net.
And the turnaround was complete four minutes later thanks to Eto'o. With Zambia appealing for handball, the striker collected Somen Tchoyi's cross and fired into the far corner.
But Kameni handed Zambia a way back into the match with his own rash bit of goalkeeping, scything down Mulenga on the left edge of his penalty area to concede an 82nd-minute spot-kick, which was coolly dispatched by Christopher Katongo.
There was another twist to come, though. Four minutes later, Geremi swung in a free-kick from near the halfway line and Idrissou rose above the defence to power his header into the bottom corner.
And this time, there was no way back for Zambia.
Africa Cup of Nations Group A
Africa Cup of Nations Group B
Africa Cup of Nations Group C
Africa Cup of Nations Group D