Injury time penalty seals semi-final place for Lions

PARIS: An injury-time penalty by midfielder Geremi handed Cameroon a 1-0 victory over Turkey on Saturday and put the African champions into the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. 

Cameroon are top of Group B with six points and their place in the last four was assured when Brazil beat the United States 1-0 in Lyon later on Saturday to pick up their first points. 

Brazil face Turkey, who like Brazil have three points, to decide the group's other semi-finalists today when Cameroon play their final group match against the US. 

Cameroon's game with Turkey looked to be heading for a goalless draw until midfielder Modeste Mbami was fouled inside the penalty area a minute into injury time. 

Geremi converted from the spot in front of a crowd of mostly Turkish fans to wrap up the points and send the Indomitable Lions close to the last four of the eight-nation tournament. 

Cameroon coach Wilfried Schaefer bet on the team that notched a 1-0 victory over world champions Brazil on Thursday and decided to start with an unchanged line-up. 

The gamble turned out to be a good strategy as the African champions looked in great physical shape and were very solid in defence throughout the match. 

“You don't change a winning team,” Schaefer told reporters after Saturday's win.  

“I stuck to the same 11 players because they had a great outing against Brazil.” 

“Of course, it is tough to play two matches in two days but our strategy worked out.” 

Young striker Samuel Eto'o, who slotted a superb winner against the Brazilians, came very close to his second goal of the tournament when he headed wide from a cross by defender Bill Tchato in the 12th minute. 

The Turks found it hard to cope with the African side's pace and goalkeeper Rustu Recber made a number of saves to keep Cameroon at bay. 

Turkey squandered their first clear chance when striker Tuncay Sanli lashed wide from close range after 21 minutes. 

The gifted Sanli, who had celebrated his debut with the winner in the 2-1 victory over the United States on Thursday, forced Idris Kameni to make two saves just after the interval. 

Turkey coach Senol Gunes saw his team attempt to impose themselves on the match and it paid dividends as Sanli's shot forced defender Lucien Mettomo to block on the line with Kameni beaten after 65 minutes. 

But when Cameroon were awarded a penalty in the 91st minute for the foul on Mbami there was no time for Turkey to recover. 

“I'm proud of my players as they never gave it up,” said Schaefer.  

“We're now going to prepare for the third (game) as we intend to win it too. But obviously we will have changes to make as many players like (midfielder Marc Vivien) Foe and (defender Bill) Tchato are exhausted.” – Reuters 

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