Indomitable Lions bow out with honour

Indomitable Lions bow out with honour
Vincent Aboubaker of Cameroon scores the 1-0 goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 group G soccer match between Cameroon and Brazil at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, 02 December 2022. EPA/Ali Haider

by Staff Reporter

Friday Dec 02, 2022. 23:28

Cameroon made an honourable exit from the 2022 World Cup after they defeated Brazil 1-0 in a Group H match played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday night.

Needing a victory to have any chance of moving into the last 16, the Indomitable Lions put up a spirited showing against the already-qualified A Selecao, but their efforts proved to be in vain thanks to Switzerland defeating Serbia 3-2 and claiming second spot on the standings.

Cameroon made four changes to their starting line-up compared to the 3-3 draw with Serbia earlier in the week, as Enzo Ebosse and Chris Wooh replaced Nicolas N’Koulou and Jean-Charles Castelletto in the heart of defence; Martin Hongla made way for Nicolas Ngamaleu; and Vincent Aboubakar replaced Karl Toko Ekambi.

Brazil, with a last 16 place already guaranteed, made no less than nine changes, with only Eder Militao and Fred retaining their places from the starting XI that beat Switzerland 1-0 last time out.

Despite their hugely altered line-up, A Selecao were dominant force throughout the first half, with their first chance arriving on 14 minutes when Gabriel Martinelli met a right-wing cross and powered a header on target, only for goalkeeper Devis Epassy to tip the effort over the crossbar.

Brazil had further efforts through Fred and veteran Dani Alves – who both shot off target – as well as a powerful run and shot from Martinelli which again drew Epassy into action, but they were unable to find a way past Cameroon’s defence.

The African side threatened only once in the first half, with Bryan Mbuemo heading on goal in injury time before the break and drawing a fine save from Ederson – it was the first effort on target against Brazil in this tournament.

The personal duel between Martinelli and Epassy continued 10 minutes into the second half when the Arsenal forward had another driving run and shot on target, only for the Indomitable Lions ‘keeper to pull off another excellent save.

The subsequent corner kick saw another major involvement from Epassy, as he initially made a mess of keeping out Militao’s shot on target, but recovered well to sweep the ball away from danger.

Cameroon looked for a way to mix up their attack with the introductions of Toko Ekambi and Olivier Ntcham after the hour mark, with the latter forcing a fine save from Ederson in the 78th minute with a low drive from outside the box.

The match looked set to end in a goalless stalemate, but in the second minute of added time Aboubakar headed home Jerome Mbekeli’s cross from the right to claim a first victory over Brazil at the World Cup for an African team.

The Cameroon number 10 removed his shirt in the celebrations and was shown a second yellow card, therefore being sent off, but Rigobert Song’s side were able to hold on for a famous albeit inconsequential victory.

Cameroon (0) 1 (Aboubakar 90+2’)

Brazil 0

Cameroon: Epassy, Fai, Wooh, Ebosse, Tolo, Kunde (Ntcham 68’), Anguissa, Ngamaleu (Mbekeli 86’), Mbuemo (Toko Ekambi 64’), Choupo-Moting, Aboubakar

Brazil: Ederson, Alves, Bremer, Militao, Telles (Marquinhos 55’), Antony (Raphinha 79’), Fabinho, Fred (Guimaraes 55’), Rodrygo (Ribeiro 55’), Martinelli, Jesus

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