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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cameroon 3-2 Zambia

By Ibrahim Sannie

Samuel Eto'o (left) and Mohamadou Idrissou (right)
Eto'o celebrates with Idrissou after the striker grabbed the winner

Cameroon revived their chances of reaching the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations after fighting back to beat Zambia 3-2 in a thrilling win.

Jacob Mulenga tapped in from close range to put Zambia in the lead before goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene gifted Geremi an equaliser in the 68th minute.

Samuel Eto'o fired in a shot to put Cameroon 2-1 up but Christopher Katongo converted a penalty to restore parity.

Substitute striker Mohamadou Iddrisou sealed the win with a late header.

The result means both Cameroon and Zambia can still qualify for the quarter-finals ahead of their last group matches on Thursday.

After losing their opening game to Gabon, Cameroon could have been eliminated if they had lost Sunday's game but the 2008 runners-up showed the resilience of the highest ranked African team to win the game.

However Rigobert Song continued to showed worrying frailties with the pace of James Chamanga causing problems for veteran Indomitable Lions defender.

It was Song's botched headed clearance from a Felix Katongo's looping cross that contributed to Cameroon falling behind in the eighth minute.

Goalkeeper Carlos Kameni brilliantly clawed the ball away, only for it to fall in the path of the onrushing Mulenga, who swept it into the net.

Rainford Kalaba could have doubled Zambia's lead when he burst forward on the left into the box but a strong challenge from defender Nicolas Nkoulou denied him.

Samuel Eto'o (right) takes on Zambia's Thomas Nyirenda
Cameroon captain Eto'o (right) was on target for the Indomitable Lions

Cameroon responded strongly as they dominated the midfield exchanges but Paul Le Guen's side found it difficult to penetrate the Chipolopolo defence.

When they managed to break through the Zambia rearguard, thanks to Samuel Eto'o's ingenuity, Mweene pulled off a stunning double-fisted save to block Jean Makoun's fierce 34th-minute drive.

Moments later Kameni produced his own remarkable double save at the other end of pitch, diving to palm Kalaba's free-kick before diverting away Katongo's follow-up strike with his knees.

Le Guen, who has been credited for the recent revival of the Indomitable Lions, made two chances at the interval, with Idrissou taking the place of Tchoyi Somen while Henri Bedimo was replaced by Augustin Binya.

The changes helped reinvigorate the Lions as Idrissou headed narrowly wide while Binya managed to put an effective check on the slippery Kalaba.

Despite the extra urgency from the Cameroon players after the break, they needed luck to bring them back into the game.

Midway through the second-half Geremi fired a speculative cross towards goal and Mweene allowed it to horribly squirm under his body and into the net.

Four minutes later fortune was smiled again on the Indomitable Lions when a cleared ball came off Eto'o, allowing the Inter Milan forward to fire home from close range.

The goal extended his record as the highest scorer in the history of the tournament with 17 goals.

Zambia looked to have salvaged something from the game with 10 minutes remaining when Kameni cluttered Mulenga in the box after the pacy striker had the ageing Song gasping for breath.

Katongo converted the penalty but there was still more time for Idrissou to rise highest to head in a long cross from Geremi to rescue the Indomitable Lions.

Cameroon: Kameni, Geremi, N'Koulou, Song, Bedimo (Binya 46), M'bia (Idrissou 46), Alex Song, Makoun, Emana (Chedjou 76), Eto'o, Tchoyi

Subs Not Used: Hamidou, Alo'o Efoulou, Bikey, Enoh, Mandjeck, Matip, N'Guemo, Webo, Ndy Assembe

Booked: M'bia, Makoun, Kameni

Goals: Geremi 68, Eto'o 72, Idrissou 86.

Zambia: Mweene, Musonda (Mayuka 76), Sunzu, Chintu, Mbola, Christopher Katongo, Nyirenda, Kalaba (Kasonde 52), Felix Katongo (Chansa 62), Jacob Mulenga, Chamanga

Subs Not Used: Kalililo, Dennis Banda, Chivuta, Himonde, Mbesuma, Clifford Mulenga, Njobvu, Singuluma, Jacob Banda

Booked: Kalaba.

Goals: Jacob Mulenga 8, Christopher Katongo 82 pen.

Att: 15,000

Ref: Khalil Ibrahim (Saudi Arabia)

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see also
Zambia 1-1 Tunisia
13 Jan 10 |  African
Cameroon 0-1 Gabon
13 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations photos
12 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
07 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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