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BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Lagos
"An eerie silence at the end of the evening"
 real 28k

The BBC's Adrian Hobart
"There will be a lot of talk about what happened"
 real 28k

banner Sunday, 13 February, 2000, 18:56 GMT
Cameroon are Kings of Africa

Cameroon captain Rigobert Song Cameroon captain Rigobert Song (right) celebrates


Nigeria 2-2 Cameroon (3-4 on penalties)

Cameroon won a highly controversial penalty shoot-out to beat Nigeria in the final of the African Cup of Nations in Lagos.

The shoot-out
Cameroon: Mboma, Wome, Geremi, Foe (x), Song
Nigeria: Okocha, Okpara, Kanu (x), Ikpeba (x), Oliseh
(x) denotes a miss
The Super Eagles' fourth penalty was disallowed after it hit the crossbar and rebounded out, but video replays showed that Victor Ikpeba's shot had in fact crossed the line.

English Premiership stars Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria and Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe also missed spot kicks as the National Stadium was rendered almost silent by the defeat.

Cameroon's captain, Rigobert Song, scored the winning penalty. "It was draining, really dramatic, right to the end," he said.

"We have again climbed to the top in Africa. Cameroon is back."

Eagles sore

Several hundred disappointed Nigerian fans ran on to the pitch after the match but were cleared by police using tear gas and wielding batons.

Tackle It was a closely contested match


Nigerian state-run television reports later blamed the defeat on the Tunisian referee's decision to disallow Ikpeba's penalty and said officials were "looking into the matter".

Reports say the Nigerian team failed to attend the post-match news conference.

Blistering start

Cameroon went ahead with first-half strikes by Samuel Eto'o and Patrick Mboma, while Raphael Chukwu and goal-of-the-tournament candidate Austin Okocha restored parity either side of the interval.

But after an hour of blistering and highly-eventful football, the intensity of the final petered out in the oppressive Lagos heat and even a sluggish extra 30 minutes was not enough to break the deadlock.


Match facts
26 mins: Eto'o scores Cameroon's first
30 mins: Mboma makes it two
33 mins: Nigeia's Oliseh hits the post
39 mins: Wome almost makes it 3-0, but hits the post
45 mins: Chukwu makes it 2-1
47 mins: Okocha equalises
51 mins: Eto'o hits the post
ET 3 mins: Babangida's strike saved
The inevitable penalty shoot-out was perhaps a fittingly bizarre ending to a thrilling and colourful tournament that has served as a brilliant advertisment for African football.

Okocha's sublime 25-yard left-foot volley that curled into the top left corner was the stand-out moment of the day and was perhaps the best individual effort of the entire competition.

It restored the balance after Eto'o had put given the Indomitable Lions a shock lead on 26 minutes with a sweet angled shot off Pierre Wome's free-kick.

Their advantage was doubled four minutes later when Mboma cheekily slipped the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu.

Shell-shocked Nigeria regrouped and went close twice, before a piece of Kanu magic made a goal for Chukwu in injury time at the end of the half.

Nigeria's Sunday Oliseh Nigeria's Sunday Oliseh was disconsolate after receiving his runners-up medal
The Arsenal striker's deft flick-on allowed his team-mate to outflank the Lion's defence on the left and slam home a low shot.

Favourites Nigeria appeared to take most of the first half to adjust to the big occasion, and for long periods the underdogs of Cameroon put them under pressure in typically robust style.

The hosts repeatedly squandered possession and their opponents made them pay with their crowd-silencing double strike. Only the ever-enthusiastic band tried to keep Nigerian spirits high.

But the goals seemed to spark the home side into life. Sunday Oliseh rocketed a 35-yard free-kick off the upright with Cameroon keeper Boukar Alioum almost certainly beaten.

Okocha then squandered a prime opportunity to pull one back by trying to cleverly place the ball when the goal was completely open. Instead, the shot sailed over to howls from the crowd.

The drama did not end there as Shorunmu produced yet more erratic keeping at the other end, coming well outside his area to clear and miscuing the kick.

Babangida goes close

The ball fell to Cameroon and the lobbed shot was only just cleared off the line by a defender. Wome also came within inches of making it three, but was denied by the post.

Chukwu put the hosts back into contention then Okacha fully revived a final that was already pulsating life with his 47th minute scorcher.

Eto'o produced the next chance of a fifth goal with a powerful shot that also shook the upright.

But neither side could find a way through the other's often fragile defence and the clash dissolved into scrappy exchanges.

Three minutes into extra-time, substitute Tijana Babangida - the two-goal hero in the semi-final against South Africa - forced a crucial save from Alioum as he swung a strike in from deep on the right.

Mboma produced some flutters in the dying seconds of extra time, but he did not have the legs to outstrip the defence and was dispossessed.

Kanu and team-mate Ikpeba were inconsolable after their misses, and the Arsenal star may also have had reason to feel aggrieved as the Cameroon keeper moved off his line before his kick was taken.

Nigeria had star individuals, but Cameroon showed themselves a better team as they completed a hat-trick of African Nations final wins over the Super Eagles.

Teams

Nigeria: 1-Ike Shorunmu; 21-Godwin Okpara, 5-Furo Iyenemi, 6-Taribo West, 3-Celestine Babayaro; 15-Sunday Oliseh, 8-Mutiu Adepoju, 10-Austin Okocha, 7-Finidi George; 4-Nwankwo Kanu, 18-Raphael Chukwu

Cameroon: 1-Boukar Alioum; 4-Rigobert Song, 5-Raymond Kalla, 6-Pierre Njanka; 17-Marc-Vivien Foe, 3-Pierre Wome, 8-Geremi Fotso Njitap, 12-Laurent Mayer, 20-Salomon Olembe; 10-Patrick Mboma, 9-Samuel Eto'o
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See also:
14 Feb 00 |  Cup of Nations
Nigeria v Cameroon: Picture gallery
12 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Cameroon: Player penpix
12 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Nigeria: Player penpix
12 Feb 00 |  Cup News
South Africa edge out Tunisia
11 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Semi-final success unites Nigeria
10 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Eagles fly into final
10 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Mboma fires Lions through
14 Jan 00 |  Cup News
Fixtures and results
11 Feb 00 |  Cup News
South Africa prove good losers
08 Feb 00 |  Cup News
Nigeria fine halved for pitch invasion
Links to other Cup News stories are at the foot of the page.