Hosts Cameroon brought a goal-shy Africa Cup of Nations to life on Thursday as captain Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko-Ekambi both scored twice in a 4-1 defeat of Ethiopia that takes the Indomitable Lions through to the knockout stages with one group game to spare.
Cameroon were the only team out of 24 at the tournament to score more than a single goal in the opening round of group matches when a brace of Aboubakar penalties saw them beat Burkina Faso 2-1 on Sunday.
Back at the same Olembe Stadium in the capital Yaounde they ran riot, although only after Dawa Hotessa gave Ethiopia a shock lead.
Lyon forward Toko-Ekambi quickly equalised and then Aboubakar added a brace early in the second half before Toko-Ekambi — who also earlier hit the post — completed the victory.
The five-time African champions are now well-placed to finish top of Group A, although they must still play Cape Verde, who themselves face Burkina Faso later on Thursday.
Ethiopia, the 1962 champions, are left still looking for their first win at the Cup of Nations since 1976. This is their third appearance at the finals since then but they have now gone 10 matches without a win at the tournament.
The afternoon started in promising fashion for them as Hotessa stole in front of Collins Fai to finish off a low ball into the box from the right in the fourth minute.
However Standard Liege right-back Fai made up for his defensive lapse by crossing for Toko-Ekambi to head in the eighth-minute equaliser.
While Ethiopia were dangerous on the break, Toko-Ekambi struck the woodwork before the interval and Aboubakar — the former Porto striker now based in Saudi Arabia — put Toni Conceicao’s team ahead with a towering header from a Fai cross in the 53rd minute.
Aboubakar scored again two minutes later after being set up by Moumi Ngamaleu and Toko-Ekambi made it 4-1 with a superb effort midway through the second half, having been released by Martin Hongla.
Cameroon could even have won by more, with Napoli midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Fai both also hitting the post in the latter stages.
The result is a boost for the tournament after a meagre total of 12 goals were scored in the first 12 matches, four of them penalties.