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Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Monday, 28 March 2011 13:57 UK

Hero Ba praises Senegal teamwork

Senegalese fans
Senegal's win sparked a mass pitch invasion inside Dakar's national stadium

Match-winner Demba Ba says Senegal's current form is down to the excellent spirit within the camp.

The West Ham striker came off the bench to score a last-minute winner against Cameroon in Group E on Saturday.

The 1-0 win gives the 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists a five-point lead over the Indomitable Lions.

"We won thanks to teamwork," he told BBC Sport. "We know how to live with and love each other - and that is the most important thing for the future."

"I just love this team. The guys are good guys, the whole week has been great fun, very intense and we're beginning to be like brothers.

"We know our ability and we are going to do everything we can to stay top and qualify as early as possible."

Senegal, who have endured dressing room divisions in the past, look set to reach the 2012 finals after failing to qualify for the 2010 edition in Angola.

Saturday's match was heading for a draw when substitute Ba collected the ball at the edge of the penalty box and shot past goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, sending the capacity crowd into raptures.

"I knew I would have a chance to score and that if I just kept focussed, I could reach it," he said.

"At the moment I scored, I felt how much I loved my country."

Ba failed to start the game as Amara Traore opted for Mamadou Niang, Papiss Demba Cisse and Moussa Sow instead.

But he came on, along with Issiar Dia, to prove pivotal and leave Senegal with maximum points from three games.

Conversely, Cameroon are left with a mountain to climb after their first defeat in the group.

The Indomitable Lions have contested every Nations Cup since 1996, winning in both 2000 and 2002, but that long record is now in jeopardy.

"We've played a good match but this is football," said Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o.

"We still have nine points to take during the second round (of qualifiers)."

Javier Clemente's side have the chance to take instant revenge when they host Senegal in the return fixture in early June.

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see also
Senegal and DRC win in Group E
27 Mar 11 |  African
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African

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