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FOOTBALL

Drogba delivers as Ivory Coast win

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) -- Striker Didier Drogba converted a first-half penalty to give Ivory Coast a 1-0 victory over Morocco in their African Nations Cup opener on Saturday.

Samuel Eto'o underlined his pre-eminent position in African football with a hat-trick as Cameroon beat Angola 3-1.

Chelsea's Drogba, who was tripped in the area, thundered home the spot-kick in the 39th minute but is doubtful for the next game because of a knee injury.

Ivory Coast's winning start, a day after group rivals and host nation Egypt trounced Libya 3-0, had to be ground out.

Morocco were more fluid going forward despite lacking the finishing touch.

Drogba, wearing the captain's armband, was substituted in the 66th minute and could miss the game against Libya.

"He's been carrying this knee injury for a while now," coach Henri Michel told reporters.

"He's got three days to recover before the next game and we'll have to see what we're going to do."

His absence against Libya would be a real blow, particularly as his usual strike partner Aruna Dindane has returned home, following the death of one of his twin daughters, and is under no obligation to return.

Hat-trick

Barcelona striker Eto'o curled home a trademark free kick after 20 minutes, powered home a header six minutes before the break and completed his hat-trick with a shot from the edge of the area late on as Cameroon romped to victory.

World Cup finalists Angola were outclassed by the four-times Nations Cup winners, although they did manage to equalize after 30 minutes when Flavio converted a penalty.

The performance of Eto'o overshadowed that of captain Rigobert Song, who was celebrating his 100th cap.

Tresor Mputu and Lomano LuaLua scored a goal each Saturday to give Congo a 2-0 win over World Cup finalist Togo 2-0.

After missing three earlier chances, Mputu calmly chipped over Togo goalkeeper Kossi Agassa seconds before halftime.

Mputu was set up by Congo captain LuaLua, who smashed in the 64th-minute second goal.

About 5,000 boisterous fans at the 28,000-seat Cairo Military Stadium produced a clamor with drums, whistles and cowbells throughout the game.

Togo held back striker Emmanuel Adebayor, freshly signed by Arsenal, as a second-half substitute, but he failed to make much impact.

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