Congo advances despite loss

January 29, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt -- Congo squeezed into the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations despite losing 2-0 to Cameroon on Sunday, while Angola tumbled out despite its 3-2 win over Togo. World Cup-bound Angola needed to score another goal to qualify, but couldn't get it even though Togo played for more than hour with 10 men. Angola also would have advanced if Cameroon had scored another against Congo, which also finished the game with 10 men. However, Cameroon hit the crossbar twice and Congo went through on goal difference. Both Congo and Angola finished Group B with four points from three games. Togo placed last with one point, meaning that both teams from the group to have qualified for the World Cup were eliminated. Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o scored his tournament-high fifth goal and Chelsea midfielder Geremi got the other to give Cameroon their third straight win and a maximum nine points. Cameroon, which won Group B and will play Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals, is seeking a record fifth African championship. Congo meets Egypt next. ``This was a tough group against two World Cup qualifiers and Congo, which is a strong team,'' Cameroon coach Artur Jorge said. ``The game against Ivory Coast will not be easy.'' Cameroon scored both of its goals in the first half. Geremi gave the Indomitable Lions the lead with a blistering shot from outside the penalty area. Eto'o made it 2-0 when his shot hit the post and bounced off goalkeeper Pascal Kalemba into the net. At the Cairo International Stadium, Angola attacked from the start and took a 1-0 lead when Flavio poked the ball into the net after beating an offside trap. Togo, already eliminated, did not have many chances but managed to tie it in the 24th minute when Mohammed Cougbadja beat Angola goalkeeper Joao Ricardo. Flavio got his second in the 39th minute when he controlled a cross and drove in his second attempt.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press