Egypt, reigning African Champions, started their title defence with 4 - 2 spanking of Cameroon in the opening Group ‘C’ match of Ghana 2008 played at Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Tuesday.
The Pharoahs of Egypt did not spare the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon when they opened scoring in the 13th minute through a spot kick taken by Abdel Moteleb Abdrabou after Tsafack Nguemo Landry handled the ball in his vital area.
Before Cameroonians could put things together, the Egyptians, who were all over the field, increased the tally in the 14th minute through Abdalla Mohammed Zidan in a combined move with Fathy Abdel Ibrahim.
The Cameroonians accepted the challenge and came close to redeeming a goal but Landry, who had moved deep into the vital area of the Egyptians, shot wide in the 25th minute. The Lions continued to mount forays into the Egyptians territory but a chance that came their way in the 38th minute was squandered.
Zidan was on target again in the 45th minute to end the first half 3 - 0. Back from recess, Coach Otto Pfister of Cameroon introduced Alexandria Billong Song for Landry to tighten the midfield and this paid off as Indomitable Lions improved on their performance. It was, therefore, not surprising when they pulled a goal back in the 50th minute through Samuel Etoo, who nodded home a cross from Geremi Njitap.
They continued to improve on their game as Etoo, who had since the commencement of the game had been policed by the defence of Egyptians, distributed excellent passes. The Egyptians also brought in Mohamed Abouterika for Mansour Zakry Hasan in the 59th minute. In the 63rd minute, Joel Epalle of Cameroon was fouled and a free-kick taken by Njitap was pushed to Etoo but his shot missed the post narrowly.
The Cameroonians tightened their defence and made sure that the Egyptians could not create any more havoc for them while they launched a series of attacks. However, the Egyptians managed to break through the defence and made it 4-1 through Abdrabou Abdel, whose terrific shot caught goalkeeper Carlos Idris Kameni crawling in the 71st minute.
The Pharaohs then on took absolute control of the game but the defence built around Rigobert Song stood gallantly. The Cameroonians came close to redeeming a goal in the 75th minute and Epalle in an attempt to score from Mohamadou Idrissou cross collided with Egyptian goalkeeper Hadary Tawfik El Kamal, which brought about a hold up for them to be treated. Etoo scored from a spot kick awarded the Cameroonians during added time to bring the final score to 4-2 in favour of Egypt.
Zidan of Egypt was crowned the MTN man-of-the match.
Line up: Egypt: Kamal El Hadary, Fathalla Abdou Ibrahim, Mohamed Said Gad, Fathy Abdel Meneim Ibrahim, Abdrabou Abdel Moteleb, Abdalla Mohamed Zidan/El Mohamady Abdel Fatah Aly, Mohamed Abdelnabi Ibrahim, Shawky Aly Salam, Moawad Abdel Wahed/Mohamed Abdel Fattah Ragab, Mansour Zakry Hasan/Mohamed Abou Terika, Elhawty Kamel Gomaa.
Cameroon: Carlos Idris Kameni, Rigobert Song, Atouba Thimothee, Jeremi Njitap, Samuel Etoo, Macoun Jean, Landry Njuemo Tsafack/Alexandre Billong Song, Joel Epalle, Mohamadou Idrissou, Stephane Etoundi Mbia, Andre Amoujou Bikey.GNA