In a dramatic final Group C match up, Cemaeroon’s senior men’s national team sealed a place in the knockout stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 3-2 win over Gambia on Tuedsday.
Frank Magri wasted a huge opportunity in the fifth minute of play. He received a precise cross inside the penalty area and released a quick shot that sailed toward the right post. His effort, however, lacked power and the goalkeeper dived to make a stunning save.
Two minutes later, a defence-splitting pass was taken in his stride by Gambia’s Ali Sowe in the box. Without even looking up he drilled a shot toward the right side of the goal, but Fabrice Ondoa pulled off a brilliant save.
With ten minutes to the end of the first period, the West African side had another chance to take the lead. Yankuba Minteh timed his jump superbly when he leaped high to meet a precise cross from the corner, directing his towering header toward the foot of the right post, but the goalkeeper denied him with a miraculous save.
In the 39th minute, another Gambian, Musa Barrow got inside the box and tried to beat Ondoa with a measured shot into the left side of the goal, but the keeper was equal to the effort and made a fine save.
Before the end of the first half, Barrow once again latched on to a through ball inside the box, but one of the defenders stepped in with a timely interception. It could have been a great chance otherwise. The ball went out of play.
Five minutes after the second half, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou received a lofted pass from the side and shoot from around the penalty spot, but the ball crashed against the crossbar.
The brakthrough finally came for the Indomitable Lions in the 56th minute when N’Koudou showcased his great technique and produced a beautiful lofted cross into the box. Karl Toko Ekambi met the cross and got himself onto the scoresheet with a header inside the right post.
The goal was awarded after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check.
Tom Sainfeit’s side responded in the 73rd minute with the equaliser. Ablie Jallow latched on to an inch-perfect cross into the box and drilled a low shot into the bottom right corner.
They went ahead for the first time in the game in the 85th minute. Assan Ceesay was in a good position inside the box but decided to pass the ball to Ebrima Colley, who kept his cool and blasted the ball inside the left post.
The late drama was not over as the five time African champions equalised in the 87th minute with a pitiful moment for James Gomez who tried to clear a cross into the six-yard box but instead sent the ball behind his own keeper.
Rigobert Son’s side restored their goal lead in the additional minutes of the second half. Georges-Kevin N’Koudou launched the corner kick and superbly found the head of Christopher Wooh, whose accurate effort from near the penalty spot went straight into the left side of the goal.
The goal was precvious as Cameroon hold on for the win and a second placed finish in Group C with four points while Senegals’s 2-0 win over Guinea maintained the team’s top position in the group with a perfect record.
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