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FOOTBALL

Goalkeeper Enyeama is Nigeria hero

PORT SAID, Egypt (Reuters) -- Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made three saves in a penalty shootout to help Nigeria eliminate defending champions Tunisia in their African Nations Cup quarterfinal on Saturday.

Nigeria won 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 deadlock after extra time.

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o was the only player to miss as his side went out 12-11 in a pulsating penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast.

The score was 1-1 after both teams scored in extra time.

Enyeama stopped efforts from Tunisia captain Riadh Bouazizi, Adel Chedli and Slim Benchaour during the shootout. He also saved a penalty early in the first half of the match.

Nigeria had squandered two of their first three penalties in a shootout that went to eight kicks apiece.

A reluctant Nwankwo Kanu had to be persuaded to step forward by a screaming captain Joseph Yobo and his bench before scoring what proved the decisive goal for Nigeria.

The Super Eagles had taken a fifth-minute lead through teenaged striker Obinna Nsofor, making his first start for the Super Eagles.

But a determined Tunisia fought back to equalise just after halftime through defender Karim Hagui, who stole in behind the defence to head home.

Italian-based striker Nsofor, at 18 one of the youngest players at the tournament, scored his first international goal in emphatic style with a forceful shot from just inside the penalty area.

A trip by Joseph Enakarhire on Zied Jaziri allowed Tunisia a chance to equalise nine minutes later Enyeama saved the penalty from Brazil-born full back Clayton.

Hagui's equaliser three minutes into the second half came as the result of a quickly taken free kick expertly delivered by Bouazizi that found the Racing Strasbourg defender sneaking in behind the defence at the back post to steer his header home.

Saturday's win means Nigeria have now reached the semifinals at four successive Nations Cup tournaments.

Ivorian captain Didier Drogba rifled home the winning spot kick after Cameroon's Eto'o, the tournament's top scorer, missed his penalty following a poor display all night.

After 90 minutes of scrappy football, the game burst into life when Ivorian Bakary Kone rifled home in the second minute of extra time and Cameroon leveled three minutes later through fellow substitute Albert Meyong Ze.

The first 14 penalties in the shootout were all converted before Ivory Coast goalkeeper Jean-Jacques Tizie saved Alioum Sadiou's effort for Cameroon. However, Tizie was judged to have moved and Alioum converted the re-take.

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