Work in Sports
Nine-man Cameroon upsets favorite 2-1 on golden goal
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- Modeste Mbami fired the golden goal for nine-man Cameroon in a stunning 2-1 victory over hot favorite Brazil at the Olympics Saturday and the Brazilians were jeered off the field by the fans after an inept performance.
The Africans had two players sent off during the first 90 minutes and the Brazilians, who only equalized 12 seconds from the end of injury time, couldn't get another shot past 16-year-old rookie goalkeeper Carlos Kameni in a dramatic game at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.
Instead it was Cameroon that broke out of defense with three men attacking two Brazilian defenders and Mbami collected a sideways pass before firing past goalkeeper Helton to score the winner.
Patrick Mboma fired the Africans ahead with a 25-meter free kick in the 17th minute and, after Cameroon had two players sent off, Ronaldinho leveled, also with a free kick, three minutes into injury time.
Cameroon captain Geremi Njitap was expelled 16 minutes from the end for two yellow cards, the second for time wasting, and Aaron Nuimbat followed him in injury time for a foul. Cameroon also was called for a stunning 42 fouls against 15 for the Brazilians.
The upset loss means that the Olympic title still eludes the Brazilians, who own a record four World Cup titles. Runners-up in 1984 and '88, they were knocked out in the semifinals in '96 by eventual titlist Nigeria.
"We had the chances to have won the game and didn't take them," said coach Wanderley Luxemburgo, who also is in charge of the World Cup team.
"This has happened before to Brazil at the Olympics. What I am more concerned about is getting these players a good future career. I just want them to have the chance of being successful.
"It has happened before that players who have lost a gold medal went on to win a World Cup."
Cameroon coach Jean-Paul Akono told his players not to panic when they were down to nine men.
"I told them we could still win if we organized ourselves," he said. "It didn't surprise me that we beat Brazil.
"Cameroon players like to attack. My policy is that if we are attacking the other team can't attack us."
Akono said it appeared the Brazilians had lost some of the natural instincts that teams like the African nations had.
"Brazil seems to have gone a little like the Europeans and have lost some of the spontaneity and creativity they used to have. We African teams still have that spontaneity and creativity and I think that gave us the edge today."
Littered with mistakes and poor finishing, the game never lived up to expectations before a crowd of 37,332, a record for the modernized Gabba.
Cameroon coach Jean-Paul Akona sprang a surprise by dropping goalkeeper Daniel Bekono and giving a debut to 16-year-old Carlos Kameni against the mighty Brazilians. The youngster soon repaid his judgment, diving to make a good save from Fabiano at the foot of the post after only 76 seconds.
He also raced off his line to block another Fabiano shot with his legs after the Brazilian midfielder had got clear of the Cameroon defense and than tipped an angle lob from Alex over the bar.
After those early Brazilian chances, Cameroon went ahead in the 17th minute.
Fabiano was called for a handball he clearly disputed and Mboma curled the 25-meter free kick round the wall and high past 'keeper Helton.
The Brazilians continued to squander chances and both Lucas and Alex got into good positions only to shoot weakly at the young 'keeper. Kameni also did well to climb above three Brazilians to catch a free kick from Alex.
Brazilian halftime substitute Roger almost leveled with his first touch only seconds after entering the game but his shot hit the crossbar while Cameroon replacement Patrick Suffo fired well wide when he was given too much room just inside the area.
The ejection of Cameroon's Real Madrid star Geremi meant the Brazilians were able to throw more players forward and finally broke through after Cameroon defender Nguimbat had been expelled for upending Alex on the edge of the area and Ronaldinho fired a right-footed free kick past Kameni.
Facing nine men, Brazil missed a golden goal chance in the sixth minute of extra time when Geovanni crossed low from the right and both Fabiano and Roger failed to make contact in front of goal.
Then Suffo weaved his way into a shooting position but fired just wide of the post from the edge of the Brazilian area.
In the 106th minute, Geovanni broke clear but fired against the crossbar before Mbami came up with the winner for Cameroon.
Brazil - Helton; Baiano, Fabio Bilica (sub: Lucio, 46th), Alvaro, Fabio Aurelio, Athirson (Roger 46th); Marcos Paulo, Fabiano, Alex; Ronaldinho, Lucas (Geovanni 59th).
Cmeroon - Carlos Kameni; Patrice Abanda, Aaron Nguimbat, Serge Branco (Modeste Mbami, 70th), Pierre Wome; Serge Mimpo, Nicolas Alnoudji, Geremi Njitap Fotso, Mayer Lauren, Samuel Eto'o Fils (Albert Meyong Ze, 81st), Patrick Mboma (Patrick Suffo, 62nd).
Referee - Herbert Fandel, Germany.