African Cup Roundup, Jan 17
Four-time champion Cameroon revived its hopes of reaching the
quarterfinals at the African Cup of Nations by beating Zambia 3-2
on Sunday while Gabon played out a scoreless draw against Tunisia.
Cameroon moved second in Group D with three points, one behind Gabon and will advance with a win over Tunisia in the final group game.
After making an error that led to his team's opening loss to Gabon, veteran defender Rigobert Song blundered again to gift Zambia the opening goal.
In the eighth minute, Song attempted to clear the ball but ended up directing his header toward his own goal and 'keeper Carlos Kameni could only parry it away, allowing Jacob Mulenga to convert the rebound.
But Geremi Njitap equalized with an angled shot in the 68th and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o added another from close range four minutes later. Zambia captain Christopher Katongo leveled the score again from the penalty spot eight minutes from time after Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni had fouled Mulenga in the area.
But substitute Mohamadou Idrissou netted the winner with a looping header four minutes later to give Cameroon the win.
Earlier Sunday, Gabon missed a chance to secure qualification for the knockout-phase with a 0-0 draw against Tunisia.
Gabon wasted a handful of scoring opprtunities and failed to build on the momentum of its opening 1-0 win over Cameroon. The team will now have to wait until its last group game against Zambia to know its fate.
"I was really pleased with my team's performance in difficult conditions with this rain," Gabon coach Alain Giresse said. "It was difficult to control the ball."
Assistant coach Sami Trabelsi said he was happy with Tunisia's game.
"It was a good performance from my team," Trabelsi said. "What we need to do is to get a win in the final game."
Tunisia, which next plays Cameroon, created an early chance when Hocine Ragued's header from a corner flew over the bar in the third minute.
In reply, Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed his dribbling and shooting skills in the ninth minute, forcing a good save from keeper Aymen Mathlouthi despite being surrounded by four defenders.
Gabon continued to have the upper hand, with Issam Jemaa going close in the 16th minute with a half-volley before Mouloungui missed the target with a diving header three minutes later.
Though Gabon defenders panicked in the 27th minute when Amine Chermiti won possession in the box, goalkeeper Didier Ovono dived at his feet to see off the danger.
Aubameyang broke down the right flank 10 minutes later before easing into the box and unleashing a bouncing, right-footed strike that was parried away by Mathlouthi.
Gabon went on to dominate the second half, although Tunisia missed a chance to take the lead just after the hour mark when Ovono blundered by failing to control the ball with his chest.
Georges Ambourouet challenged Mathlouthi with a floating free kick from distance in the 63rd minute before Aubameyang, unmarked at the far post, failed to control the ball in the box as he collected Cousin's precise cross.
Cousin was then denied a penalty in the 90th minute when Jemaa brought him down after pulling his shirt in the box.