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THE SHOT THAT PASSED RIGHT THROUGH THE NET    African Cup Of Nations 2000  JAN 22 - FEB 13  Nigeria/Ghana 
Zusammenfassung in Deutsch ]

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
3rd place
back to top
Final Kickoff Sunday, Feb 13, 1500h (GMT)  
Nigeria - Cameroon 2:2, pen.: 3:4  
match over 
winners: CAMEROON 

Before the match 
The big one. It is very seldom, that the two teams which are considered as the strongest of the tournament, even of the continent, meet in the finals. But both have impressed, especially by the strength and brilliance of their individuals. It is a match which is awfully difficult to call. It is one of the greatest matchups ever.  
For Cameroon it is already the second ime they face a host team. In the opening match against Ghana they had dominated, but not at last the crowd had helped Ghana back into the match. Cameroon lookes a bit more consistent in their performances, but they depend on some confidence, too. Neither against Algeria nor against Tunisia they had good first 10 minutes. And the only match they fell behind, against Togo, they lost. But they won all matches that really mattered in a convincing way. If they do not win today, they will be a team with bright future anyway. 
Nigeria on the other side, have recovered from their only match in which they fell behind: they beat Senegal after extra-time in the semi-finals. But this had been a dramatic escape, scoring the equaliaser with only minutes to go. Nigeria are the most brilliant team, showing off the magic some of Africa's football had been about before adapting the European result-orientated thinking. But they are vulnarable too. Home fans can make them do anything but also can mean a lot of pressure when they are disappointed. 
Some commentators expect a high scoring game because of the abilities of both attacks and problems in both defences. I am not so sure about this. Both mioght play quite carefully and who scores first has a good chance to win the match. It might depend upon when the first goal will be scored. 

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  
CAF: referee is Mourad Daami (Tunisia) 

 1st half 
-one had to abandon their green jerseys - it is Nigeria - they will play in all white! 
-now the famous interpretations of the national anthems 
-kickoff 1507h GMT 
-('5) Cameroon: Wome surprises Nigeria with a quick throw-in to Mboma but he is denied for a corner 
Both teams try to get their game settled as their strength  in one against one comes clear but also their nervousness in passing game  
-('7) Nigeria: Chuckwu penetrates into the penalty area, but two defenders can take the ball off him  
-('9) Cameroon: Geremi and Laurent Meyer create some danger on the right hand side - it seems Cameroon has settled a bit earlier and starts to attack now 
-('11) Cameroon: Again an attack initiated on the strong right hand side, Mboma wants to head the cross to the unmarked Eto'o but is a bit inaccurate, so Nigerian defenders can intervene 
-('13) Cameroon: Mboma nw, and Foe some minutes before have tried to fire from very far but balls went far wide 
Cameroons strategy to go for ball possession first and not for quick attacks pays off: they dominate! Maybe Nigeria should try to control the ball for some moments before playing it into attack. At this moment the forwards are marked and challenged very well. 
-('16) or maybe not: Nigeria: a long ball on Okocha who eventually in the penalty box is surrounded by four defenders, gets off a ball in direction to the goal anyway, but the angle is far too difficult 
-('18) Nigeria: Kanu displays his great control and overall view 
-('20) now it is all Nigeria, but Okochas distance attempt is as inaccurate as Mboma's and Foe's had been before 
-('21) Cameroon: Olembes free kick from the left is successfully claimed by Shoronmu 
-('22) Cameroon again by the right hand side, but Mboma can't get off a clear header 
-('23) Cameroon: a cruel looking foul by Wome on Adepoju - but it very much seemed to  have been an accident 
-('26) Nigeria: Iyenemi is booked as he stops Mboma by foul on the right hand side 
-('26) the free kick is played in by a low ball to the near post, Eto'o takes it, turns and scores into the far corner - 0:1 
-('28) Okocha is stoppped at the 16 meter(18 yard line) 
-('30) Nigeria: Adepoju is the playmaker 
-('31) Cameroon: the brilliant Eto'o plays a through ball in the right moment and Mboma from about 10 meters on the half left, shoots as hard as he can. The shot exactly goes between the legs of Shoronmu who cannot close in time due to the power of the shot - 0:2 
-('34) Nigeria: free-kick rocket by Oliseh from 25 meters, misses by centimers 
-('36) Cameroon plays it perfect now: first they friustrate the Negians by passing the ball around without going for the attack, then they suddenly switch and go for a quick counter-attack. In defence they stand solid and in the final third they win the challenges. 
-('38) Nigeria: a deflected ball in comes to Okocha for a big opportunity from 14 meters. Okoche tries to place it exacly but it only goes into the arms of the keeper in the middle of the goal. 
-('40) Nigeria: great through ball by Kanu to Finidi who is robbed of the ball in the last moment by Kalla (Song?). Nigerians complain a bit at the referee 
-('40) Cameroon: Wome puts in a cross from the left and a Nigerian defender hieads it against his own cross-bar. The rebounding ball is shot by Eto'o and Shorunmu can save it in the last moment 
-('41) Nigeria answers but again there are some Cameroon legs in between 
-('43) Cameroon: again a most dangerous two against two counter-attack, Shoronmu comes out to help but this alomost costs a third goal as the Cameroon strikers are all dangerous 
-('44) Nigeria: Okocha wins a dangerous free-kick from the right border of the penalty area, but Finidi's free-kick is not accurate enough 
Nigerian defenders have problems in ball control, attacked by the Cameroon strikers 
-('injury time) Kanu, already in the penalty area, sets up Chukwu, who scores with a diagonal ball into the right corner - 1:2 
-('injury time) Okocha shows he is capable of long throw in's as well - it had been a dangerous weapon of the Cameroon team in the past matches. This time defenders can clear the situation 

halftime 1:2 
A great match for a final. Cameroon are so strong and well balanced. The Nigerians have some brilliant properties but they are also vulnerable, especially against the Cameroon right hand side. While the Cameroon defenders quite well have controlled their opponents, the Nigerian defenders have a lot of trouble with Eto'o and Mboma. Eto'o more and more emerges as one of the superstars in this squad. 
But the Nigerian team has proven they can explode at any moment.  
The match looked as if over when Cameroon were close to the third goal, but the late goal by Nigeria may be a boost in confidence and might bring some momentum. Cameroon has 15 minutes halftime to prepare for it. 

you want to know for which club Song played 1994? 
which shirt number Kanu wore at Atlanta 96? 
you wonder where Ayadi Hamrouni is disappeared or who won the penalty shoot out at the Amilcar Cabral Cup semi-finals 1979 between Mali and Guinea-Bissau? 
the author has just informed me that the new African Yearbook 2000 is out now 
(if you fill out the form, ask also for the 'History Of The African Nations Cup' which is scheduled to come out in March) 
2nd half 
-('46) Aghahowa is in for Chukwu 
-('46) Cameroon: has the better start, a throw-in by Geremi brings some problems and 30 seconds later it is Olembe with a solo-run, but no harm 
-('47) Nigeria: Jay Jay Okocha with a sensational 22 meter drop kick rocket into the corner by his left foot- 2:2 
-('49) Cameroon: again along the right hand side and again athrow-in by Geremi brings danger 
-('50) Cameroon:_ this time Eto'o exploits the right hand side but his dangerous ball in is intercepted by Shoronmu 
-what a match, it goes up and down, both looking for the score 
-('51) Cameroon does not looked shocked at all 
-('52) Cameroon: brilliant through ball by Song on Eto'o? who unlishes a shot from 9 meters - goalpost. Shoronmu would have had no chance 
-('53) Oliseh and Geremi get into a a quarrel during a challenge and Oliseh a bit loses head. It did not look any harmful, but Geremi gets treated fopr some time. Oliseh gets a yellow card, seems ok 
-('57) Cameroon: Song gets an unlucky yellow card, this time he has playthe ball. Kanu, encouraged tries again to fall for a freekick but this time the referee waves on  
-('58) Nigerians combinate their way through but Alioum is a reliable keeper 
-('59) Cameroon: another most damngerous attack initiated from the right hand side, but the ground iritates Mayer a bit as he wants to pass the ball in to Eto'o and a defender can clear for a corner 
-('61) Nigeria can only stop Laurent Meyer by a foul. where? on the right hand side... 
the problem is, when they stop Cameroon for a throw in, Geremi Njitap will come and make it dangerous as well 
-('63) Nigeria with a half dangerous attempt 
-('63) Cameroon: Mboma wins another throw-in for Geremi, but Nigerian defence can head it out 
-('66) Cameroon: Foe header harmless (Geremi free kick from the right wing) 
-('68) Cameroon: Meyer wins another free kick on the right, this time Geremi's cross is dangerous 
-('69) Nigeria: Babangida in for Finidi 
-('71) Nigeria: Aghahowa can't get around the defenders, although he tries his best 
-('72) Cameroon: Job replaces Eto'o 
both teams have become careful. Now it is the slow,anxious match I had expected for the first half. -('80) Cameroon: Mboma targets from 20 meters with his right foot, but misses meters wide 
-('83) Nigeria: Kanu runs the attack all alone and tries to surprise the keeper, but Alioum is perfect yet 
-('87) Cameroon: Meyer and Wome run a dangerous attack, this time along the left side, but Foe who takes a reboundg ball, balloons it far wide 
-('88) Cameroon: another attempt off target, this time Olembe 
-('injury time) Nigeria survives a scare as some high balls are flying around in their penalty area 
-('injury time) Njanka is booked for complaining 

result after 90 minutes 2:2 
In the last 20 minutes both teams have played quite anxious. Maybe the prospect of 30 more minutes will make them take some more chances now. The teams are difficult to compare: Cameroon is the superior team most of the time, but Nigeria can explode at any time as they have proved now in all matches. 

extra-time 1st half: 
-('91)  Cameroon: Laurent Meyer wins a freekick, half right. Mboma tries a curve ball but it misses the goal at the near post 
-('93) Cameroon: Mettomo comes in for Kalla 
-('93) Nigeria: Okocha is in the pebnalty area but outnumbered 
-('94) Nigeria: Babangida explodes on the right hand side indside the penalty area and when everybody thinks cross he fires towards the near corner - Alioum makes a spectacular save 
Job yet is ineffective compared to Eto'o  
-('96) Nigeria: Ikpeba replaces Adepoju who can't continue because of injury 
-('99) Nigeria: Oliseh balloons an attaempt from far high into the air 
-('100) Nigeria: Babangida gets in a cross from the right wing and Ikpepas header misses the goal by centimeters - Nigerian substitutes seem to have more impact  
extra-time 2nd half: 
both teams look tired and mistakes number grows  
-('108) Nigerians with some neat passing inside the Cameroon penalty area, but no real danger 
-('110) now it is Cameroon with a half chance 
-('113) Cameroon, but is now only individual actions (Meyer?) which are more easy to close down 
Aghahowa successfully has defends on the left hand side more than two times (against the strong Cameroon right side) 
-('116) Cameroon: great counter-attack, but eventually Babayaro stopps Mayer 
-('117) Nigeria: Babangida almost creates a chance 
-('118) Nigeria: Oliseh is lucky to escape a second booking as he commits a tactical foul stopping Cameroon on a counter-attempt early in their own half 
-('120) Cameroon: Job brilliantly sets free Mboma but he seems too tired and is stopped 
-('120) Nigerians answer but Ikpeba is closed down as well 
-match over 
penalties will decide: 
an awful way to decide on a championship 

penalty shoot-out: 
Nigeria is to begin 
Nigeria Cameroon
1:0 Okocha 1:1 Mboma
2:1 Okpara 2:2 Wome
Alioum saves* 2:3 Geremi Njitap
*crossbar, the ball bounced down, back to the bar and out, unclear whether it has crossed the line, how did the referee (linesman) decide?  no goal wide right*
3:3 Oliseh 3:4 Song
*players names who do not score in penalty shoot outs do not get named by The Shot That passed Right Through the Net, as this kind of competition is unfair to the players who are willing to take the responsibility 
winners: CAMEROON 
penalties a terrible way to decide on a champion: 
The stadium is in silence. The fault does not lie in the linesman who had to decide on that controversial 4th Nigerian penalty, it lies in the system. The penalty was too sharp too see right. But TV replays suggest it had crossed the line. (This of course does not necessarily mean that Nigeria would have won otherwise!) Penalties always create a scapegoat. This is no fault of him, it is the fault of the idea. 
(The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net since 4 years has offered an idea for a new kind of extra-time, but yet assoiciations have not responded. Maybe sponsors can help here.) 
Cameroon had been the better team in the first 70 minutes but Nigeria had come back then. Cameroon has played away against Ghana and Nigeria and many will say they deserve the cup. At the penalty shoot out they had the luck they had been missing when twice hitting the goalpost in regular time. 

I like to continue the service for some more competitions in the future: 
World Cup 2002 qualifiers 
Mali 2002 qualifiers 
The African Champions League 
Sidney 2000 qualifiers 
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