Zidan magic defeats Cameroon
An excellent brace from Mohamed Zidan saw reigning champions Egypt defeat Cameroon 4-2.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 22/01/08 7:09pm
An excellent brace from Mohamed Zidan ensured reigning champions Egypt kicked off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a comfortable 4-2 triumph over Cameroon.
Zidan struck two wonderful goals at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, with Hosni Rabou also netting a brace to get Egypt's opening game of Group C off to a flying start.
Mohamed Shawky's ambitious effort was the first worthy strike of the encounter but his dipping shot, which bounced awkwardly in front of Carlos Kameni, was saved well by the Cameroon goalkeeper.
Egypt were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead after Reading's Andre Bikey was punished on 13 minutes when Abd Rabou's cross struck him on the arm in the penalty area.
Rabou stepped up and coolly finished, however he was made to retake his spot kick after he was penalised for his stop-start run up. He made no mistake from his second effort though - smashing the ball past the helpless Kameni to make it 1-0.
On 16 minutes, Egypt doubled their lead after they exposed Cameroon's high backline with Zidan playing a clever one-two before slotting home expertly.
The impressive Zidan then handed his side a three-goal advantage just before the break. He killed the ball on the edge of the area, composed himself and then let fly with an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Cameroon began the second period with more purpose and they pulled one back on 51 minutes courtesy of Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o - who headed home Geremi's teasing cross from close range.
Eto'o was then left with his head in his hands after watching his low shot bobble just wide of the post, with Egypt shot-stopper Essam Al Hadari well beaten.
A comeback was not be, though, as Rabou wrapped up the points with a powerful and accurate effort into the bottom corner.
Cameroon were awarded an injury-time penalty after Mahmoud Fathallah was penalised for a handball - and Eto'o dispatched. But it was little consolation for the Indomitable Lions.