By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Vincent Aboubakar proved to be the hero as the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon fought hard to pick a 3-3 draw against Serbia on Monday, November 28, with the Al Nassr striker scoring a goal and providing an assist in the process.
It is a result that may not help both sides qualify for the next stage of the competition, but it will be the Serbians who will be wondering how they let go of a two-goal lead and crumble in the space of just about five minutes.
Jean-Charles Castelletto, Vincent Aboubakar and Choupo Moting were the scorers for Cameroon who fought back to pick a draw. This was the first meeting between Cameroon and Serbia in all competitions since a 4-3 friendly win for the Serbs in June 2010 – and both sides could ill-afford another defeat after losing their opening Group G games.
“In these competitions, you have to show a desire for victory,” Aboubakar said. “My teammates played a great first half despite some small mistakes. We felt they (Serbia) were shaky and a bit tired. When I came on, I tried to make the most of it.”
The result ended a run of eight straight World Cup defeats for Cameroon, picking up their first point in the competition’s group stages since a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in 2002.
Rigobert Song said: “That is part of our DNA as Cameroon footballers and it was maybe what was missing in the first match (against Switzerland). What was important was to show that great fighting spirit and determination. We reacted as well as we could (at 3-1 down) to get back into the match. We are progressing and improving.”
Cameroon became the third African team to avoid defeat in a World Cup match and has been 2+ goals behind, after South Africa (2-2 vs Paraguay in 2002) and Côte d’Ivoire (3-2 vs Serbia in 2006).
Cameroon scored three goals in a World Cup match for the very first time, in what was their 25th game in the competition. It was the first time in 16 games they’d even scored more than once at the tournament, since a 2-2 draw with Sweden in 1994.
“It is possible to beat Brazil. We believe in ourselves; we did not come here to just go through the motions. Cameroon still has a contribution to make to this tournament,” Rigobert Song added.
The Indomitable Lions will face Brazil in the final group game at Stadium 974 on Friday, kick-off at 7 pm. Serbia meantime will battle with Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium, also on Friday at 7 pm.
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