Shoot-out kings Cameroon retain trophy
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The reigning champions won every game leading up to the final but were unable to break through against Senegal despite having the best of the chances throughout the game.
Cameroon goalkeeper Boukar Alioum was eventually the hero for Cameroon as he saved two of the five spot-kicks from Senegal to earn the trophy for his side when he thwarted Senegal captain Aliou Cisse.
In an open first-half, both teams had chances with Henri Camara squandering Senegal`s best opening when he shot straight at Alioum when clean through.
Cameroon, though, have an abundance of attacking talent and they were always a threat.
Senegal keeper Tony Sylva denied Eto`o with a fine low save, and then made a better stop to thwart Geremi.
Moments before the interval, Cameroon thought they had taken the lead when Eto`o had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed for an innocuous-looking foul on Sylva.
Cameroon dominated the majority of the play in the second half, but struggled to make their possession count.
On a rare occasion when they got clear, Pius Ndiefi was denied a goal as his shot came back off the post.
Senegal were happy to play on the counter, and it took a fine tackle form Salomon Olembe to stop Khalilou Fadiga bearing down on goal.
As the game moved into extra time neither side looked capable of breaking the deadlock despite several half chances.
Then, Ndiefi missed a glorious chance to score when he rose at the far post to meet Wome's left-wing cross unmarked, but he managed to nod the ball wide of the target.
Cameroon then brought off Ndiefi just before the end of the first period of extra time and replaced him with Sheffield United striker Patrick Suffo.
The holders had a chance to win the game right at the death when Blades striker Suffo played a superb through ball for Eto'o, but Senegal keeper Sylva raced out quickly to block his shot well.
The whistle went straight after and the game went down to a penalty shootout.
Pierre Wombe had Cameroon's opening kick saved by Sylva, and Senegal's Ferdinand Coly somehow managed to score when Alioum stopped his pen but had to watch it spin into the opposite corner of the net.
Sheffield United's Suffo, Arsenal's Lauren and Real Madrid's Geremi all scored, and Amdy Faye had his saved to leave the score at 3-2 when El-Hadj Diouf stepped up to the spot.
The highly rated youngster coolly jogged up to the ball but managed to slot the ball wide from twelve yards to leave Cameroon captain Rigobert Song the chance to seal the cup.
The former Liverpool and West Ham defender promptly had his kick saved, and his Senegal counterpart Aliou Cisse needed to score to keep his side in the game. Alioum blocked his fierce strike to hand Cameroon the trophy and leave the Senegal skipper heartbroken.
The holders retain the trophy then won two years ago by the same method against Nigeria, and they are now making a habit of penalty shoot-outs after also claiming the Olympic title with a penalty victory over Spain.
Both teams will take their success to the World Cup finals in The Far East, although no team will fancy coming up against The African Cup of Nations holders in a penalty shoot-out.