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Cameroon triumph on penalties to keep gold in Africa

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Latest: September 30, 2000 04:08 AM

ATTENTION - ADDS penalty scorers ///

SYDNEY, Sept 30 (AFP) - Cameroon beat nine-man Spain 5-3 on penalties in a thrilling finale to the men's Olympic football tournament here Saturday.

Spain, reduced to nine men by the time the regulation 90 minutes finished at 2-2, hung on bravely to force the match into a penalty shootout.

But their hopes of victory were shattered when defender Amaya hit the bar with his side's third effort.

After two more successful kicks Cameroon sweeper Pierre Wome kept his nerve to earn his country its first ever Olympic gold medal.

The win also keeps the Olympic football title in Africa after Nigeria's historic triumph four years ago in Atlanta.

Cameroon were two goals behind at the interval but recovered to level the scores midway through the second-half before Spanish substitute Gabri was sent-off in the 70th minute and Jose Mari was dismissed for diving in the dying seconds of regulation time.

Spain, the 1992 gold medallists made the perfect start, opening the scoring after just 90 seconds when Xavi curled a free-kick over the wall and into the corner of the net.

Angulo spurned a glorious opportunity to double the lead in the fifth minute, missing a penalty after Jose Mari had been fouled in the penalty box.

And substitute Gabri made it two for Spain with the last touch of the first half, running onto a header and firing home.

But the Indomitable Lions halved the deficit in the 53rd minute when Mboma's cross was deflected into his own net by Amaya.

Five minutes later Mboma broke down the right again and his centre was converted by Samuel Eto'O Fils, who plays his football in Spain with Real Madrid, sending the crowd into raptures.

Cameroon surged forward in the extra period and Aranzubia saved brilliantly from Eto'O and Joel Epalle before Eto'O had a goal ruled out in the 120th and final minute for offside.

Patrick Mboma, Samuel Eto'O Fils, Geremi Njitap Fotso and Lauren Etame Mayer converted the first four Cameroon penalties.

Xavi, Capdevila and Albelda scored from the spot for Spain.

The bronze medal went to Chile, who beat the United States 2-0 on Friday.

Copyright © 2000 Agence France-Presse

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