On this day 7 February 2008 (Exactly 12 years ago today) The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon rode high on a 70th minute strike by Alian N’kong to end Ghana’s quest for gold in the 26th MTN African Cup of Nations. Cameroon won the semi final clash decided at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra 1-0.
The goal came against the run of play after the Lions had managed to soak lots of pressure from the Ghanaians, who started aggressively from recess. It was indeed the first chance of the Cameroonians in the second half.
A three-man move initiated by Jean Epalle began after the Lions had survived a Ghanaian invasion set free Samuel Eto’o, who passed splendidly to Nkong in the penalty area.
Both teams had a scrappy first half with scanty chances, while action was centred in the midfield, where the Black Stars petit Anthony Annan excelled in challenging his opponent Alexander Song.
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Earlier in the match, Eric Addo had a rare chance to put Ghana ahead in the fifth minute, when he met Sulley Muntari’s well-taken free kick but mistimed to fluff the chance.
Achille Emana came close for Cameroon on the 21 minutes by cracking a half-volley just over the bar, whilst Geremi Njitap’s 40 yards free kick with seven minutes to recess hit the bar with Ghana’s goalkeeper, Richard Kingston well displaced.
With Michael Essien confined to a defensive role without suspended Captain John Mensah, Ghana’s midfield lacked flair to create chances for the attack.
But Ghana was to dominate after the recess and appeared to be inching closer to the goal that never was, as the attackers failed with their final balls.
In between play, Annan came close with a 25-yard shot, with John Paintsil heading Muntari’s corner wide.
With the clock ticking, the reality of losing dawned on Ghana as they began to double their effort but Manuel Junior Agogo headed over the bar with nine minutes of regulations time remaining.
Cameroon defender Andre Bikey was sent off in the 90th minute for pushing a medical official attending to Rigobert Song to the ground.
Ghana Line-up: 22-Richard Kingson; 2-Hans Sarpei, 4-John Paintsil, 18-Eric Addo, 6-Anthony Annan, 23-Haminu Dramani, 12-Andre Ayew (15-Ahmed Barusso 86), 8-Michael Essien, 9-Junior Agogo, 11-Sulley Muntari, 20-Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (13-Baffour Gyan 61).
Cameroon Line-up: 1-Idriss Carlos Kameni; 8-Geremi Njitap, 4-Rigobert Song, 5-Timothee Atouba, 23-Andre Bikey, 10-Achille Emana (2-Augustin Binya 77), 15-Alexandre Song, 19-Stephane Mbia, 21-Joseph Desire Job (12-Alain Nkong 62), 9-Samuel Eto’o, 17-Mohamadou Idrissou (14-Joel Epalle 46).
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH
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