GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Cameroun yesterday beat Egypt 2-1 to regain the African Nations Cup trophy, which they last won in 2002.The game at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise, which pitched two teams that were giving little chance of getting to final, started on a frantic note, with Egypt dominating early proceedings.
The midfield quartet of Mohammed Elneny, Trezequet, Ahmed Fathi and Wahda made life uneasy for the Indomitable Lions, who were content to soak the early pressure. But they were forced to come off their shell in the 22nd minute when Arsenal’s Elneny gave the Pharaohs the lead.
Elneny, who nearly missed the final with a calf strain, showed no after effects of the injury, as he started and finished the move.He fed the ball wide then carried on his run, receiving it from Salah in space before beating Ondoa at the near post.
Egypt played as everyone expected – happy to defend well and let Cameroun take the game onto them, with Salah and Warda set up to hit the Indomitable Lions on the counter – a tactic that nearly resulted in a goal for the Roma striker.
Soon after the goal, Cameroun started seeing plenty of the ball, but just couldn’t find a way past the stingy Egyptian defence, with Ahmed Fathi and Hegazy in particular looking solid.
The fantastic Bassogog was the tormentor in chief for the Lions, with his dashing runs on the left flank proving too difficult for the Pharaohs to contend with.
The stocky Bassogog started the move that gave Cameroun the equalizer in the 59th minute. He took a corner, which was charged down, but his return cross was excellent and substitute N’Koulou rose higher than Hegazy to head the ball into the far corner.
The goal was expected to push the Egyptians to action, but they looked tired, as the robust Camerounians swamped all over them.The winner came in the 85th minute through substitute Vincent Abubakar, who controlled a long ball, chipped it over a defender and volleyed beyond the static El Hadary.
Yesterday’s win gave Cameroun their first title since 2002 and ended Egypt’s 24-match unbeaten run. It was also sweet revenge for the Camerounians, who lost the 2008 final to the Pharaohs in Ghana.