Eto'o creates Nations Cup history as Cameroon qualify

( AFP ) - Samuel Eto'o became the leading all-time African Nations Cup scorer with 16 goals as Cameroon defeated Sudan 3-0 in Group C to finish runners-up and reach the quarter-finals.

The Barcelona striker was level on 14 goals with Laurent Pokou of Ivory Coast entering the final-round fixture and took just 27 minutes to create history at Tamale Stadium before adding a second in stoppage time.

Alaeldin Yousif pulled the shirt of Achille Emana inside the penalty area and after taking far longer than usual, Eto'o stroked the ball into the right corner of the net with Elmuez Muhgoub diving the wrong way.

Eto'o celebrated his 15th goal with extreme calm, returning to the centre circle while accepting the congratulations of team-mates approaching him one at a time.

Pokou, who is in the southern city of Sekondi to watch 2008 Nations Cup favourites Ivory Coast, scored his 14 goals in the 1968 and 1970 tournaments, including a record five against Ethiopia.

Eto'o struck his first Nations Cup goal in a 2000 group match against Ivory Coast in Accra and his tally includes one hat-trick, against Angola in Cairo two years ago.

A fierce critic of racism, Eto'o helped the 'Indomitable Lions' win the symbol of African national team supremacy in 2000 and 2002 and this is his fifth appearance at the biennial tournament.

The 26-year-old striker claimed the second Cameroon goal after 33 minutes, but television replays showed the ball striking Sudan defender Mohamed Khiber on the back and rolling over the line as Eto'o raced in.

Cameroon, who recovered from a 4-2 hiding by defending champions Egypt to whip Zambia 5-1 last weekend, dominated the first half against opponents smarting from 3-0 losses to Zambia and Egypt.

After spending most of the opening half defending in this northern town, Sudan tested goalkeeper Carlos Kameni several times early in the second half as they tried to avoid becoming the only qualifiers not to score in Ghana.

Sudan, whose 23-man squad was comprised of players from just the Al-Hilal and Al-Merreikh clubs, were a transformed side, testing Kameni constantly without success.

Dismayed by failing to score, some of the fire disappeared from Sudan and Cameroon mounted several attacks without seriously threatening to increase their tally.

But the 'Desert Hawks' were caught out by a counterattack two minutes into additional time as Eto'o burst through and beat Muhgoub for his fifth goal of this tournament.

Cameroon stay in Tamale for the next phase hoping to avoid a third consecutive quarter-finals exit after losing to Nigeria in 2004 and Ivory Coast two years ago following a marathon penalty shootout.

The 'Lions' face the Group D winners Monday night, probably 2004 champions Tunisia or an Angolan team seeking a place in the knockout phase for the first time in four attempts.

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