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Football: Cameroon cubs feast on young Japan

CAMEROON SUGGESTED that their nation's footballing future may be bright with a winning start to their World Under-20 Championship campaign in Kano, Nigeria, yesterday.

Their Group E opponents, Japan, took a surprise lead in the 51st minute when Naohiro Takahara slotted the ball past the Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, the youngest player in the tournament at 15. But generally Japan were outclassed by the indomitable lion cubs of Cameroon, who produced dazzling footwork and dribbling, and won the match with two goals from Gaspard Komol, the winner coming in the dying seconds.

In Group F, Zambia came from behind twice against Honduras and then went on to win 4-3 in their opening game. Honduras's Maynor Suazo hit the net first in the 11th minute but Zambia pounced back with an equaliser from Gift Kambamba in the 19th. Julio Leon pushed Honduras ahead again in the 41st minute only to see Bernard Makufi match it seconds before the break. Makufi scored again from a low, driving shot outside the box in the 60th minute. Ronald Mbambara clinched the fourth in the 82nd minute from a header while Suazo claimed another for Honduras a minute before the end.

Having been reduced to to 10 men, Mali nevertheless pulled off a surprise 2-1 win against Uruguay, with Mahamadou Dissa snatching the winner with a cheeky chip shot in the final seconds. Abdoulaye Camara had headed Mali ahead on 51 minutes, but three minutes later Uruguay equalised when Ernesto Chevanton side-footed the ball in from eight yards. But Dissa's last-minute lob ensured that the South Americans took nothing from the game.