Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Egypt seal Cup of Nations triumph‏

Goalscorer Mohamed Aboutrika
Aboutrika scored after a mistake by Cameroon captain Rigobert Song
Defending champions Egypt won a record sixth Africa Cup of Nations with a fully-deserved victory over Cameroon
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute when Mohamed Aboutrika pushed home a Mohamed Zidan pass after a mistake by Cameroon's Rigobert Song.
The Pharaohs also went close when Hosni Abd Rabou hit the post on 61 minutes and they become the first side to win back-to-back titles twice.
Cameroon were seeking a fifth title, but rarely troubled the Pharaohs.
It was a triumph for Egypt coach Hassan Shehata who becomes only the second coach to win successive trophies.
His team had much the better of the first half, creating most of the scoring chances with their speed and mobility.
Once again Cameroon based their game on physical power, taking a defensive approach that supplied few openings to lone striker Samuel Eto'o.
Aboutrika came close on 13 minutes, with a 35-yard shot that was pushed around the post by Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.
Two minutes later the Indomitable Lions were forced to make a substitution, with Gilles Binya replacing Alexandre Song, who was carrying an injury from the previous game.
Cameroon defender Geremi forced a save from Essam Al-Hadari from a free-kick, but the Pharaohs almost took the lead seconds later.
Hadari's clearance found Emad Moteab, whose 15-yard shot was parried brilliantly by Kameni, but into the path of Aboutrika, whose shot was too high.
Nine minutes before half-time a ball over the Cameroon defence found Moteab inside the area, Kameni made a fine save from the shot, and it remained goalless.
Cameroon came back from the break with purpose, causing the tempo of the match to increase considerably, but Egypt quickly took control of the game again.
Kameni had to make two more fine saves, from a close-range Amr Zaki shot, then from Abd-Rabou's 25-yard cracker that he punched away.
Gilles Binya and Mohamed Said
Gilles Binya (left) and Mohamed Said in action in Sunday's final

The Pharaohs continued to pile on pressure, and Abd-Rabou hit the post with a header on 61 minutes.
With 13 minutes remaining, Egypt finally got the goal they deserved.
Cameroon captain Rigobert Song was punished for untidy defending, losing a tussle with substitute Zidan.
Zidan pushed the ball along the edge of the box into the path of Aboutrika, who had a simple finish from 15 yards.
As Egypt celebrated, Song covered his face with his shirt, knowing that he should have cleared the ball away.
Song headed over the bar in stoppage-time, but there was to be no redemption for the defender, in his seventh Nations Cup.
Egypt won the first two editions of the tournament, in 1957 and 1959, but with the competition far more intense now, these victories have far greater significance.
Shehata's feat of two Cups in a row matched that of Ghana's CK Gyamfi, who won the tournament in 1963 and 1965.
Aboutrika's goal was the 99th of the tournament, which produced more goals than any other Nations Cup.




Cameroon: Kameni, Tchato, Song, Atouba, Emana (Idrissou 56), Song Billong (Binya 16), Mbia, Epalle (M'Bami 65), Geremi, Nkong, Eto'o.
Subs Not Used: Hamidou, Mbarga, Angbwa, Essola, Makoun, N'Guemo, Tomou, Job.

Booked: Atouba, Idrissou.

Egypt: El Hadari, Mohamed, Hany Said, Gomaa, Moawad, Fathi, Hassan, Abd Rabou, Aboutriaka (Ibrahim Said 89), Moteab (Zidan 60), Zaki (Shawky 84).
Subs Not Used: Abdel Monssef, Sobhy, El Saeed, Fathallah, Gamal, Mostafa, Shaaban, El Mohamady, Fadl.

Booked: Hassan.

Goals: Aboutriaka 77.
Ref: Coffi Codja (Benin)
Att: 35,500

Egypt coach Hassan Shehata praised his side for successfully defending their Africa Cup of Nations title despite being unfancied to win in west Africa

"Ghana was always going to be difficult with so many strong teams (south of the Sahara), but we did well," he said.
The Pharaohs' picked up a record-breaking sixth title with a 1-0 win over Cameroon in the Accra final.
Ahmed Hassan
Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan holds the trophy aloft


Goalscorer Mohamed Aboutrika (right) with captain Ahmed Hassan

"We tried to take the game with good football, for Egypt and for the fans, and it proved enough to win," he added.
The victory meant Shehata joins an exclusive club of two coaches who have won back-to-back titles.
The defending champions ensured the win when Mohamed Zidan forced an error from Cameroon captain Rigobert Song to play in Mohamed Aboutrika for the only goal of the game.
And Aboutrika said he hoped they could take their dominance into the build up towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.


Mohamed Aboutrika
Aboutrika scored after 77 minutes
"We are delighted to win. It's a great achievement," said the Al Ahly star.
"It is a great feeling to score for the country, but it's not about me scoring goals but it's about all the players and the 80 million people supporting us back home.
"It's an amazing feeling to win the tournament away from home," said Aboutrika.
"It's even better to win it two times in a row."
After beating Cameroon in their opening group game, Shehata's men recorded victories over Sudan, Tunisia and then Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.
The only minor blemish on an otherwise perfect passage to the continental trophy was the 1-1 draw with Zambia.
Egypt were adding the 2008 trophy to their wins in 1957, 1959, 1986 (on penalties against Cameroon), 1998 and 2006.

Cameroon defender Bill Tchato was full of praise for Egypt.
"We showed a lot of heart but congratulations to Egypt. We came up against a team that deserved to win," he said.
"It is no surprise that they were champions of Africa two years ago."
Patrick Mboma, Cameroon's all-time top goalscorer who led the team to Nations Cup victories in 2000 and 2002, said Egypt's team spirit shone through.
"It's tremendous that we reached the final with small preparations and the late appointment of a coach, but Egypt is the best football team in Africa today," said Mboma.
"They have a team based on local players, so they know each other very well."

Cameroon fans
Cameroon 0-1 Egypt: Excited fans of the Indomitable Lions arrive at Accra's Ohene Djan Stadium ahead of the big game
Egypt fans get ready for the final
Not to be outdone, the Pharaohs' smaller band of traveling supporters do their best to add to the atmosphere
Mohamed Aboutrika takes a tumble
Mohamed Aboutrika tries to fashion an early chance for Egypt but is thwarted by the close attention of Stephane Mbia
Essam Al-Hadari makes a save
After a fine display against Ivory Coast, goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadari is made to work by Geremi's free-kick
Song and Zaki contest possession
Having already scored four goals, Pharaohs striker Amr Zaki keeps Song and his colleagues busy at the back
Kameni pulls off a save
The first half ends without there being any goals, largely thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Idriss Kameni
Hassan holds off Mbia
Egypt continue to put pressure on Cameroon's defense, with captain Ahmed Hassan always looking to spot an opening
The deadlock ends in the 77th minute when Song's error allows Mohamed Zidan to find Aboutrika who sidefoots home
Egypt's players celebrate victory
Cameroon are allowed a lot of possession in the closing stages but they do nothing with it as Egypt hang on for the win
Egypt's players celebrate victory
After a short presentation ceremony, Egypt are crowned Africa Cup of Nations champions for a record sixth time
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