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Cameroon 3-2 Zambia: The Indomitable Lions Get Their First Three Points Of the Competition Against A Valliant Zambian Side

Going into the second match day in Group D of the African Cup of Nations 2010 between Cameroon and Zambia, it was to be expected that Cameroon would be doing their best to get into the competition properly. After a major setback in the inaugural match against Gabon (2-1), the Indomitable Lions didn't have the right to make mistakes tonight. A new defeat seemed unimaginable for Paul Le Guen's men, who played big opposite the Chipolopolos of Zambia, who had themselves an encouraging draw against Tunisia (1-1).

Captain Samuel Eto'o has spoken of an accident and reiterated all week the squad's commitment to going beyond the group stages.
Therefore, Paul Le Guen didn't completely change his starting XI and relied once more on his three-headed attack composed of Emana, Eto'o and Tchoyi. The only change was, as Goal.com predicted in our preview that Stephane M'bia mad it to the pitch despite coming from an injury.

For the Chipolopolo, coached by the French Herve Renard, no players happens to be internationally known but the team is composed of very dedicated players whose motivation keep them in the game during confrontations. Their duo of Mulenga and Katongo could were threatening to the Cameroonians' defence.

The first ones out the gates when the game started were the Zambians. In the second minute,
given a long and deep ball, Jacob Mulenga outpaced Monac's Nicola N'koulou but the young defender tackled him with a great deal of authority. A minute later, on a harmless ball, Chris Katongo trieed to strike from distance but his attempt was too imprecise to trump Kameni.

In
the seventh minute came a huge surprise to say the least with Jacob Mulenga scoring the first goal for Zambia. On a ball stupidly lost by Geremi Njitap, Felix Katongo addressed a right-footed center long enough to cause veteran Rigobert Song to be on the brink of deceiving his keeper. Idris Carlos Kameni, pushed the ball out and Jacob Mulenga only had to tap the ball into the net.

At that moment Cameroon were heading for an elimination from the competition. But that fact didn't seem to be enough to wake them up as the Chipolopolo were still the only ones producing any game. Until the 23rd minute, Kalaba, Mulenga and Katongo were literally making a fool out of ex-captain Rigobert Song as the "Grand Magnan" was being outpaced left and right and Nicolas N'koulou's output was the only thing preventing the Indomitable Lions' defence from collapsing.

It took exactly 33 minutes, for Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to touch the ball, just anther sign of the Chipolopolo's outrageous domination in the match. It took Jean II Makoun's kick and then his communicative rage to get his teammates somehow involved.

After the powerful strike though, on the counter-attack, if not for a world-class Kameni, the Cameroonian would have taken their second goal from Katongo in the 37th minute.

At the end of first half, it was clear that Cameroon were well on their way to being eliminated from the 2010 AFCON. Literally outsmarted, outpaced and out motivated by a very disciplined team, the Indomitable Lions conceded a goal from Mulenga early in the game before showing nothing consistent thereafter.

Samuel Eto'o's partners had virtually no opportunity for themselves and would need to come back from the locker room with much better ambition if they wanted any shot at making it out of Lubango. The truth was that without the maestria of Kameni, they could have been three goals down already at that point.

Coming back from the locker room, Stephane M'bia, still injured and obviously not fit to play in the first place got replaced by Mohamadou Idrissou who slotted in next to Eto'o while Binya replaced Bedimo in the midfield. The overhaul left the only player on the pitch who seemed to care on the Cameroonian side, Jean II Makoun.

In the 53rd minute, Achille
Emana gave a superb deep ball to Mohamadou Idrissou. But the Freiburg striker appeared way too unselfish by trying to find Samuel Eto'o while he obviously should have kicked for goal. But Idrissou's constant activity was great for the team and he seemed to be a much needed electroshock.

His efforts nearly paid off in the 60th minute when five Cameroonian players were called offside and Mohamadou Idrissou scored, but was denied by the ref's whistle. It appeared later that there were no offsides at all but Cameroon seemed well on their way.

While Herve Renard picked that moment to replace Kalaba and Katongo the Cameroonians were protesting and half focused on the game. At that exact moment, on a quickly played Chris Katongo free-kick two
Zambians found themselves alone in Idriss Carlos Kameni's penalty area  but were not able to touch the ball even if the whole defence stayed idle.

In the 65th minute, Geremi Njitap, picking up a ball and kicking through a forest of feet, could have scored but Kennedy Mweene picked up the ball and gave it to his teammate Emmanuel Mbola who lost it immediately to some very aggressive collective pressing by the Cameroonians.

After a bad pass, trying to prevent the goal from going out, Geremi Njitap kicked it towards the penalty area and Kennedy Mweene made a mistake unworthy of any professional player and completely lost himself and followed the goal inside his net.

Following that incredible mistake, Cameroon put an incredible amount of pressure on the Chipolopolo who crumbled and three minutes after the first Cameroonian goal, Samuel Eto'o scored his first of the tournament. The seventeenth goal in an AFCON competition for Eto'o came from a Tchoyi pass and a beautiful cross from the right helped the Inter Milan player open his tally.

Oddly enough, instead of continuing to play offensive, Paul Le Guen sent in Aurelien Chedjou to replace Achille Emana and "close down shop" as they say. While Herve Renard sent in striker Mayuka.

Once the defence was reorganised, a misunderstanding between Kameni and Rigobert Song caused the keeper to rush through Matanga and get a yellow card, thus giving a penalty to the Zambians who were still believing they could get the draw point. Chris Katongo scored the penalty in the 80th and gave the Chipolopolo a much deserved equaliser.

Suddenly Cameroon seemed to regroup and calm down and in a counter-attack while the Zambian midfield was still coming back, the best Cameroonian of the day Mohamadou Idrissou got his efforts rewarded by scoring a beautiful header on a Njitap cross.

With his incessant activity, the Freiburg player was just too motivated not to score tonight. The third goal of the day coming in the 85th minute, Cameroon had enough experience to keep the Zambians at bay for a few more minutes. And that's exactly what they did. By keeping the ball in between them, the Cameroonians narrowly avoided the humiliation of leaving the country early, but this may still change in the final group game.

But let's not forget that Zambia could have gotten at least a draw and that Paul Le Guen's men are not at all playing like the contenders they are supposed to be.