S Y D N E Y, Australia, Sept. 30, 2000 -- The men’s soccer gold medal stays in
Africa. In the Sydney Games, the “Indomitable Lions” rule.
Cameroon used an own-goal off the face of a Spanish defender andsome deadeye penalty kicks in a shootout to win the Olympicchampionship today (Friday night ET).
Pierre Wome scored the clinching penalty kick as Cameroonoutscored Spain 5-3 in the shootout, after the two teams wound uptied at 2-2 after two overtimes.
If Wome was the hero of the game in Olympic Stadium, Spain’s Ivan Amayawas the goat. His own-goal eight minutes into the second halfstarted Cameroon’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit, and he then bangeda penalty kick off the crossbar in the shootout.
Gold Stays in Africa
The result meant a second straight Olympic men’s soccer gold forAfrica, after Nigeria became the first African nation to win it inAtlanta four years ago.
Cameroon also now has the double distinction of being Africanand Olympic champions in the same year.
The final was played before some 100,000 fans at the mainstadium of the Sydney Games, where Australian fans chanted“Cameroon! Cameroon!” to support the underdogs.
It was a dramatic finale to a tournament that had plenty ofthrills and solid soccer. The women’s title was decided on asudden-death goal, as Norway edged the defending champions from theUnited States 3-2 on Thursday.
Cameroon Rallies in Second Half
Spain took the lead in the second minute on a free kick by Zaviand made it 2-0 just before the half on a goal by Gabri.
Cameroon came back in the second half, with Amaya’s own-goal —the ball bounced off his face and into the Spanish net — in the53rd minute and a goal by Samuel Eto’o five minutes later. Spainthen was reduced to nine men after the ejections of Gabri and JoseMari.
Spain, two men short, almost scored in the opening minute ifovertime when Capdevila struck the outside of the post on a freekick.
Eto’o thought he won the game for Cameroon with seconds to go inthe second overtime, when he cleared the defense and shot home butwas called for offside.