Indomitable Lions stun Brazilians

PARIS: Olympic champions Cameroon stunned World Cup holders Brazil 1-0 in their Confederations Cup group B encounter here at the Stade de France Thursday thanks to a stunning late goal from Samuel Eto'o. 

After an entertaining but equally frustrating performance from both teams the 22-year-old Real Mallorca star struck a wicked volley past Brazil keeper Dida in the 83rd minute. 

After their disappointing first round exit from last year's World Cup, which Brazil went on to win, Cameroon – the African champions – quickly made amends with a win that takes them second in Group B behind Turkey. 

Now the Indomitable Lions' German coach Winfried Schaefer is hoping to unleash his midfield-packed side upon Turkey, group leaders after their victory over the United States, on Saturday. 

ECSTASY: Samuel Eto'o (centre) of Cameroon celebrates with Rigobert Song (left) and Eric Djemba (right) after he scored the winning goal against Brazil during their Group B Confederation Cup match on Thursday. Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0.--REUTERSpic.

“The team played magnificently, showed all of its qualities and the level that we can play at,” said Schaefer, who admitted he had studied Brazil closely in their recent friendly win (3-0) over Nigeria. 

“That (video) helped us to adapt our tactics for this match, mostly by blocking Brazil down the wings. We also packed our midfield more in order to control the game better. 

“We've worked hard in training to build a more solid group and we have to maintain that ahead of our match against Turkey.” 

Brazil, missing a host of key players including Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo – mainly because the Spanish league has yet to end – looked out of sorts throughout the match after coach Carlos Alberto Parreira had switched the 3-5-2 formation to a 4-4-2. 

Even the inspirational Ronaldinho failed to impress. Despite being the target of a number of top European clubs, the Paris St Germain striker hardly came close to threatening Cameroon keeper Idriss Kameni. 

And, left with only six of the team who won the World Cup in Asia, Parreira had his work cut out. 

The game got off to a dramatic start when Jean Joel Perrier Ndoumbe was taken off for treatment after the boot of Brazil number nine Adriano, who had cleared the ball away cleanly beforehand, left a gaping wound pouring blood from the Cameroon defender's head. 

Ndoumbe soon returned with stitches in his head, and Cameroon seemed inspired as they poured forward. 

However the first half, except for a few near chances for both teams, never really got going. 

Cameroon's midfield tactics proved frustrating for the World Cup holders in the first half – a fact which Parreira openly acknowledged. 

“We knew that Cameroon would be a difficult team to play against. They've got quality players and in the end deserved victory,” said Parreira. 

“They defended well against us, especially in the first half where we lacked speed and penetration.” 

Cameroon kicked off the second half in more positive fashion and went on to dominate. 

They won a freekick almost immediately which caused some confusion in the Brazil box before the ball was cleared. 

Cameroon winger Geremi then floated in a delightful cross from the edge of the box with the outside of his foot although there were no takers. 

Eto'o, who looked sprightly throughout the match, then robbed the ball in midfield before running down on goal only to be thwarted by Brazil's defence. 

Eto'o was again instrumental in the 62nd minute when his pacy run down the left was followed by a close-range shot which forced Dida into evasive action again. 

Moments later Brazil had a penalty claim waved away by Russian referee Valentin Ivanov when Gil clumped to the floor under a defensive challenge in the box. 

Brazil then replaced Adriano with Ilan in a bid to freshen up the attack but Cameroon looked the more likely side to score. 

In the 74th minute Eto'o ran on to a through ball that had been robbed from Brazil in the midfield but close marking meant the striker could only send a weak shot towards Dida. 

Minutes later Eto'o's determination paid off when a poor clear-out from Dida was met by a strong Cameroon head from the midfield, propelling the ball into the Real Mallorca forward's path. 

Eto'o outran the Brazil defence to volley the ball into the roof of the net from 20 yards out, leaving a flailing Dida stunned, and Brazil bottom of Group B. – AFP  

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