Egypt won its sixth Africa Cup of Nations title, whilst defending its title, by beating Cameroon 1-0 in the final.
|Champions: Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan holds |
the trophy aloft [AFP]
Mohamed Aboutreika scored the only goal in the 77th minute of a tightly fought contest, converting Mohamed Zidan's cross for his fourth goal of the tournament.
It was a crucial error from captain Rigobert Song that led to Aboutreika's goal.
The Cameroon captain had two chances to clear the ball but instead got tangled in a needless duel with Zidan and lost the ball.
Zidan squared it perfectly and Aboutreika finished powerfully in the bottom right corner.
Realising his error, Song pulled his shirt into his mouth and pointed to the skies, as if seeking forgiveness.
Goalkeeper Carlos Kameni ran over and comforted Song.
Cameroon struggled to get shots on goal and there was no player on hand to turn home Stephane M'Bia's cross in the 83rd.
Song had a chance in injury time but headed Geremi's cross over.
Egypt dominated the second half, negating the threat from Eto'o, who received little quality possession and failed to score for the third straight match.
Hosni Abd Rabou hit the post with a header from Amr Zaky's cross in the 62nd as the Indomitable Lions tired.
Kameni burst into tears at the final whistle and had to be comforted by Eto'o.
Defender Augustin Binya dropped to his knees and gazed into the distance as Egypt's players rolled on the floor and hugged in celebration.
Pfister selected Joel Epalle and Alain Nkong in his starting lineup, while Tchato replaced the suspended Andre Bikey.
Bikey was sent off in the 1-0 semifinal win over host Ghana, during which match Epalle helped create Nkong's goal.
Egypt attack from the outset
Early pressure from Egypt meant Kameni had to save Sayed Moawad's long shot in the 10th, and Kameni was almost lobbed moments later when his poor clearance landed at Aboutreika's feet.
Pfister was forced into an early change when Alexandre Song limped off in the 16th and was replaced by Augustin Binya.
|Egypt's goalkeeper Esam al Hadary, left, and |
Mohamed Zidan enjoy the moment [AFP]
Cameroon's first chance of the match came in the 18th, but Geremi's free kick from 30 metres was saved by Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.
Cameroon looked solid in the middle, but Egypt often found outlets down each flank.
Eto'o at last found some space in the penalty area but could not guide his shot on target in the 36th.
A minute later, Egypt's Emad Motaeb only had Kameni to beat, but the goalkeeper brilliantly blocked his shot.
With Egypt dominating the second half, but unable to break down Cameroon's stubborn defense, coach Hassan Shahata brought on Zidan in the 59th in what proved ultimately to be a masterstroke.
Cameroon coach Otto Pfister had been trying to become only the second German to win the African title.
It was his second attempt after leading Ghana to the 1992 final against Ivory Coast.
Winfried Schafer won the 2002 title with Cameroon.