Africa Cup of Nations: Cameroon v Tunisia – as it happened | Paul Doyle

Minute-by-minute report: Both sides need to win this in order to progress to the knockout stages – who will make the last eight? Find out with Paul Doyle

Hi, how's it going? Up to anything interesting lately? Awful weather we're having. The price of stuff - crazy, eh? And what about those hoodies and swine flu and politicians' expenses. It's a disgrace.

The above was the correct current small talk convention, wasn't it? Good. So let's move on to the interesting stuff. We'll start with the teams for this make-or-break clash twixt Cameroon and Tunisia. Oh no, we won't, because I don't yet have them to hand. So here are the line-ups for the equally critical encounter between Gabon and Zambia. All four teams in this group could yet progress to the quarater-finals, see.

1-Didier Ovono; 2-Georges Ambourouet, 17-Moise Brou Apanga, 5-Bruno Ecuele Manga, 19-Rodrigue Moundounga; 10-Alain Djissikadie, 14-Paul Kessany, 13-Bruno Zita Mbanangoye, 11-Eric Mouloungui; 8-Daniel Cousin, 23-Roguy Meye.

Zambia: 16-Kennedy Mweene; 4-Joseph Musonda, 15-Kampamba Chintu, 6-Emmanuel Mbola, 19-Thomas Nyirenda; 13-Stophira Sunzu, 7-Rainford Kalaba, 10-Felix Katongo, 11-Christopher Katongo; 12-James Chamanga, 7-Jacob Mulenga.

3:59pm: I can tell you that Cameroon have made no fewer than six changes to their starting line-up for this game. Reacting to the sluggish performances in the first two games, and perhaps to the taunts emanating from the Tiunisian camp, according too which the Indomitable Lions are "too old" to be a threat any more, Paul Le Guen has discarded Geremi and Rigbert Song, amongst others.

GOAL! Cameroon 0-1 Tunisia! A ridiculous start by Cameroon! The changes at the back have produced a result exactly opposed to the one anticipated by Le Guen! Tunisia cantered down the right wing and centre effortlessly, whereupon Chermiti darted in front of Nkoulou and directed a pluinging header into the net from seven yards! Splendid goal from a Tunisian viewpoint, diabolical from a Cameroonian one.

2 mins: As Cameroon repel a corner from the buoyant young Tunisians, the line-ups finally land in my inbox. Behold:
Cameroon: Kameni, N'Koulou, Binya, A Song, Mandjeck,
N'Guemo, Chedjou, Idrissou, Eto'o, Makoun, Enoh.

Tunisia: Mathlouthi; Souissi, Haggui, Jemal, Ragued, Korbi, Chemiti, Dhaouadi, I Jomaa, Mikari, Nafkha.

4 mins: Jemaa booked for a cynical foul in midfield. Less explicably, I've just noted that Achille Emana is on the bench. A bonkers decision by Le Guen, to be sure. "Can you tell us how Nguemo plays?" pleas Patrick Grey. "As a Celtic fan I'm torn between wanting the lad to play as well, as he has done for us, but wanting his team to crash and burn horribly so he is back playing for us sharpish! (Sorry Cameroon fans. And, er, Landry)." Well, he was abysmal on his previous appearance in the tournament - worse than Emana was in the last game for sure - but he's in action here. Not done anything yet, like his team-mates.

6 mins: A pause in play as a Tunisian receives treatment. "Only 22 and married with two children - a responsible young man," says Eurosport's commentator of Alex Song as the camera pans to the Arsenal midfield. "I'd call that irresponsible," replies his sidekick Stuart Robson. Textbook moralising from the gantry, right there.

10 mins: Cameroon are showing plenty of urgency, but lamentably little precision.

13 mins: Eto'o, marooned out on the left as part of Le Guen's odd masterplan, collects the ball and attempts to drive inside, but is repulsed by a Tunisian defender. "Mention of the Zambia team reminds me of the days back in '95 when I used to play Actua Soccer on the family PC," recalls Elliot Carr-Barnsley, all misty-eyed. "Every time Kalusha Bwalya got the ball, anywhere on the pitch, the commentator (Barry Davies?) would shout "BWALIYYYAAAA" as if he'd scored. Happy days. I once spent a day playing the whole of Euro 96 on that with a friend. Good times. I remember the sun being out outside but we had no need for it."

16 mins: By the way, I forgot to mention that the Cameroon team presented themselves for the pre-match anthems in the orthodox manner - I note that, of course, because they were panned in Cameroon for turning their backs on the Zambia team during the anthems that preceded their previous match - that little stunt was inspired by Algeria's pointed snub of the Egyptian players in the recent World Cup play-off but, according to some Cameroonian journalists, riled the Zambians so much that they went and opened the secoring after only eight minutes. This time Cameroon's opponents scored after jsut one minute. So what does that tell us about the importance of stances during anthems, eh?

19 mins: Tunisia are content to play on the counter now, and are having no trouble soaking up the blunt pressure from Cameroon, whose lack of creativity is stark.

21 mins: Enoh knocks the ball beyond full-back Soussi and gives chase ... but he can't retrieve it before it trickles out of play. To show how much that dismayed him, perhaps, he clatters into Soussi, sending the Tunisian tumbling into a coven of crouching photographers. The referee doesn't show a yellow card, possibly because he's too busy laughing.

23 mins: All very scrappy at the moment. Cameroon are going out with a whimper. "Your Actua Soccer correspondent has jogged a memory for me," blurts Andi Thomas. "FIFA 96, on the Super Nintendo. Apart from having to spend a fair proportion of every game yelping in fear and pain thanks to my stepdad, who insisted on throwing himself around the room with every save his 'keeper made, the memory that stands out most clearly is the inept Nigerian goalkeeper. The name escapes me, but he was so bad - so unbelievably, ludicrously, flap-at-every-shot-even-from-the-halfway-line awful - as to make the whole game feel, in retrospect, ever-so-slightly racist. I seem to recall their defence being a touch on the naïve side, too. Happy days, forever tainted by my slow morph into a Guardian reader."

26 mins: Corner to Cameroon. Nguemo makes a rabid dog's dinner of it. "The stage is set for Rigobert to come off the bench and inspire the comeback, surely?" types celebrated wordsmith Jonathan Wilson all the way from Angola. "I'm desperate to do my piece on the Joan Crawford of
African football: every day he puts on more make-up, but he can no
longer hide the signs of age ..."

28 mins: This is degenerating into an foul-tempered affair. Nafkha has just been booked for booting Mandjeck in the face, and an unseemly kerfuffle ensues. Eventually Eto'o pulls himself away from the pushing and shoving to curl a freekick towards the back post, and Song narrowly fails to connect.

GOAL! Gabon 0-1 Zambia (Kalaba 29') I didn't see it, but I can tell you that means the Copper Bullet Boys - managed by former Cambridge United flop Herve Renard - are now poised to make the last eight.

30 mins: As if to pay tribute to the keeper of Andi Thomas's old game, Mathlouthi charges out of his box and handles the ball - it was a senseless deed and he's lucky to be punished with only a yellow. From the resultant freekick, the keeper flaps at Eto'o's shot, but that's enough to turn it behind for a corner.

33 mins: Alex Song snaps a pass in to Makoun, whose control is atrocious. That has been a noticeable failing of Cameroon in this tournament - Song's capacity to deliver a quick and sharp pass is not matched by his team-mates, who struggle to perform with any sort of precision once the tempo is raised. "Re: Herve Renard," begins matt Walker. "Perhaps hedidn't have the right Kalaba of player at Cambridge United?"

35 mins: Eto'o, still foraging around the left, swaps passes with Nguemo and then scoops a pass high over the head of Idrissou. It droops out of play, far, far from the danger zone. That is not how Cameroon are going to turn this match around.

38 mins: This time Eto'o is, at least, in the box when he receives the ball, but he fails to navigate his way past the defender, who completes his spoiling job well by blocking the striker's shot before whacking the ball upfield.

40 mins: Korbi is writhing in agony in the middle of the pitch following a late lunge by Nguemo. It didn't appear to connect with much force, but off goes the Tunisian on a stretcher.

42 mins: Cameroon are monopolising possession but are showing no signs of penetrating a well-drilled and many-manned defence. They lack imagination, speed and, when it comes to the crucial areas, precision.

44 mins: Tunisia almost show Cameroon how it's done with a rapid counter. Mikari raced all the way forward from left-back, effortlessly infiltrating the Cameroonian defence, but shot into the sidenetting.

Half-time: Cameroon wobble on the brink of embarassing failure. It will be deserved. Tactically and technically they are flawed. Tunisia only have to stand firm to triumph. Le Guen has work to do. "Don't know if you noticed on TV, but as Ragued shot into the side-netting, it looked to all this side of the ground as through the ball had gone in, to the extent the ref pointed to the centre-circle," chronicles Jonathan Wilson. Thanks Jonathan, that was not apparenty on the TV - and that sounds like just the sort of official who should be brought to the attention of Bundesliga referee selectors, if this is antyhign to go by.

Idle chitchat: "Barry Davies was always good value for shouting players' names excessively loud, especially on computer games," reckons Paul Frangi. "On the official Euro 96 game Spain had Pizzi as one of their strikers and any time he shot on goal he would scream 'PIIIIIIZZZZZZIIIIII!!!!' Which caused much amusement." And years later, it still doesn't.

More chinwaggery: "Haven't Cameroon made the amateurish mistake made by many a fantasy football manager before," chides Michael Hunt. "In calling themselves the Indomitable Lions, they set themselves up to look stupid the moment they are clearly tamed? The same way it makes you feel better about the failure of your fantasy football team to see 'Top of the Table' battle it out with 'The Greatest' and 'AllStar XI' at the bottom of the fantasy league." Perhaps, Michael, but it is also worth nothing that the opposite does not pertain, viz. choosing a humble and harmless animal as nickname does not set the scene for glorious conquest. Otherwise the Squirrles of Benin would surely be top of the tree.

46 mins: Cameroon have made an inevitable change. Makoun, who was abject, has been replaced by Webo, who wasn't much better in his previous apperance at this tournament. Where is Emana?

GOAL! Cameroon 1-1 Tunisia (Eto'o 47') It was not a thing of beauty to neutral observers, but Paul Le Guen couldn't have wished for a more picturesque sight: the man who he has jsut introduced, Webo, was the architect of the goal that keeps Cameroon's hopes alive, surging on to the ball by the by-line before cutting it back for Eto'o to shunt into the net.

49 mins: Tunisia should have regained the lead immediately! With a simple ball forward they prised the shaky Cameroonian defence apart and Dhaoudi galloped into the box but, with a clear shot the obvious option he elected to play it across the box to ... no one.

51 mins: Corner to Cameroon. Eto'o wastes it.

53 mins: Slack defending by Tunisia, who left Eto'o completely unmarked on the penalty spot. The Inter striker rose to meet Mandjeck's cross but couldn't direct his header on target.

54 mins: By my calculations, since none of you have asked, Cameroon and Zambia will go through to the last eight if the scores in both this afternoon's goal remain the same. Gabon will miss out by dint of having scored fewer goals than that pair.

55 mins: Tunisia, who need to win to prolong their stay in Angola, are beginning to apply serious pressure, firing cross after cross into the Cameroonian box.

57 mins: Eto'o eludes on tackler before being thwarted at the edge of the Tunisian area by Haggui, who wellies the ball clear. Tunisia, by the way, have introduced Ben Saada, a former World Cup winner ... with France's U-17 team (they very team, indeed, that featured Portsmouth and Algeria's Hassan Yebda).

60 mins: Binya takes down Dhaouadi, giving Tunisia a freekick some 35 metres from goal, and coming perilously cloes to earning himself a second yellow card. Le Guen should consider replacing him as his tackling is becoming increasingly reckless ... and EMANA IS STILL ON THE BENCH!

61 mins: Korbi becomes the fifth player to be booked so far, and will miss the next game if Tunisia progress. "Who will finish top if the scores remain the same Paul?" hollers Phil Lewis, who apparently hasn't bothered to read my post on 54 mins. "And if only two teams finish level on points is the order decided on head to head encounters or goal difference? Fundamental questions that are seldomaddressed by television pundits during footballing round robins." Head-to-head record is the primary criteria, then comes goal difference and goals scored.

GOAL! Cameroon 1-2 Tunisia (Chedjou og, 63') Providing all those permutations for the final standings seems redundant now, as Chedjou has just put Tunisia back in front with an outlandish own goal. Under no pressure he met Ben Saada's long ball and sent a looping header over his own keeper from 15 yards!

GOAL! Cameroon 2-2 Tunisia (Nguemo 64') Webo is again the inspiration for the equaliser, receiving the ball in the box and then laying it back to Nguemo, who cracks a low shot into the far corner! Meanwhile, Zambia have gone 2-0 up against Gabon in the group's other game. It was a fierce drive, but the keeper should have done much better. As things stand, the quarter-final line-up will be Egypt v Zambia and, wait for it, Cameroon against Nigeria!

67 mins: Eto'o becomes the latest player to be booked, for dissent would you believe. Of course you would. "Not wanting to get involved in a pretty sad riff here, or in any way show that I haven't changed at all in the past 15 years, but the new Fifa game for some reason requires Fulham's Simon Davies to be referred to as Davies, Simon Davies," spurts Elliot Carr-Barnsley. "As if James Bond. He isn't James Bond."

69 mins: Cameroon change: Binya off, no doubt for fear of him getting dismissed, and on comes not Emana ... but Rigobert Song! Turly, the stage is set for the great man to plunder the winner. Whether that will be by smashing one past Mathlouthi or outdoing Chedjou in the own goals stakes remains to be seen ...

72 mins: Eto'o comes deep to receive the ball and play a lovely reverse pass through to Idrissou, who is wrongly called back for offside. He would have been clean through.

74 mins: Cameroon again thwarted by an erroneous offside decision. Much more of this and Eto'o will soon be feeling an irrepressible urge to dissent again.

76 mins: Nguemo left a Mandjeck cross in the hope that it would run to Webo, but it didn't.

78 mins: Splendid play by Alex Song, winning t he ball in midfield before feinting past two players ... and collapsing to the ground to win a tactical freekick.

79 mins: Lovely trickery by Eto'o at the corner of the box, sucking in two defenders and then slipping the ball back to Webo, who took one touch and then sent a curler fractionally wide from 18 yards.

81 mins: Tunisia change: off comes their goalscorer, Chermiti, on trots Ayachi.

83 mins: Things are getting a little too much for the Tunisians, who are encircling the ref and berating him furiously for his decision to punish Jemal for a barge on Eyong. Meanwhile, Gabon have set the scene for a late twist by pulling a goal back against Zambia thanks to Marcelinho - one more and they go through.

85 mins: Tunisia change: ragued off, M'Barat on.

86 mins: Haggui heads a high over the bar after rising to meet a long freekick. "As an Arsenal fan, is it wrong for me to want Cameroon to lose?" wonder Marlon Lorde. "We need our him back and fresh to face Man Utd on the 31st. Come on Tunisia!" Song has been excellent in this game, and in the previous ones.

88 mins: A red card has long seemed inevitable in this matcgh and it should come any second now because Jemal has just got his second yellow for a petulant push in the back of Idrissou. After much hesitation the ref saves himself from a Graham Poll moment by finally flourishing the red. Off trudges Jemal, booting a bottle on his way.

89 mins: Cameroon substitution: Nguemo off, Bikey on.

90 mins: There will be six minutes of injury time, which provides ample scope for more fun in this increasingly helter-skelter game. One goal changes the entire group.

90+2 mins: An extravagant fall by Eto'o doesa not yield a freekick and Tunisia hurtle down the other end in desperate search of the goal they need. It wasn't a dive by Eto'o - Haggui clatteered him - and that miscarriage of justice does not prove significant as the Tunisian attack peters out well short of the box.

90+4 mins: Bikey dons the unlikely garb of midfield general and pulls off the roll with aplomb, directing his troops forward with a series of deft passes ... until they reach the brink of the Tunisian box, where the move breaks down. Meanwhile in Lubango, Zambia celebrate the end of their game against Gabon and their passage to the quarter-final.

90+5 mins: Korbi loses his balance when in prime position to deliver a dangerous cross, and instead wafts the ball into the crowd behind the goal.

Full-time Cameroon go through thanks to a second half transformation and their long acclaimed resilience. Their quarter-final against Nigeria promises to be a mighty clash.


Paul Doyle

The GuardianTramp

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