Ivory Coast, Cameroon set for heavyweight bout

Ivory Coast, Cameroon set for heavyweight bout
Cameroon players celebrate a goal scored by Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui of Cameroon during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Cameroon and Malawi

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday Sep 05, 2021. 15:00

Ivory Coast and Cameroon will have a heavyweight bout in Group D of Africa’s 2022 World Cup Qualifying tournament, as they meet at Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan on Monday 6 September, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

The Ivorians, looking to return to the World Cup after missing out on Russia 2018, started out with something of a stumble after they could only draw 0-0 away to Mozambique in Maputo on Friday afternoon.

The result leaves the Elephants with some ground to make up, but coach Patrice Beaumelle is confident that his side will rise to the challenge offered by five-time African champions Cameroon.

“We know the strength of our next opponent,” said the Frenchman after the goalless stalemate against the Mambas. “But playing at home will allow us to produce a better performance. It will be a great game between two powerful teams.”

Cameroon opened their campaign with a 2-0 home win over Malawi in Yaounde on Friday night, as goals from Vincent Aboubakar and Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui saw them leapfrog to the top of the standings.

The Indomitable Lions can afford to be conservative in their approach in Abidjan – a draw will keep them at the top of the log – with coach Toni Conceicao revealing that he is seeing progress.

“The players are starting to understand what I want defensively and offensively. Defensively the team is solid, offensively we have a lot of play. We have all the tools to fight the other big countries,” said the Portuguese.

In head-to-head stats, Ivory Coast and Cameroon have met in 19 matches across all competitions and friendlies since their first recorded clash back in 1970. The Elephants have claimed nine wins compared to eight for the Indomitable Lions, while two games have been drawn.

The teams last met in an African Nations Championship quarterfinal in January 2016 in Rwanda which ended 3-0 (after extra time) in favour of Ivory Coast thanks to goals from Koffi Boua, Djobo Atcho and Serge N’Guessan.

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