The age-old football rivalry between Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire will be renewed tomorrow when both teams clash at the Japoma Sports Complex for a ticket into the last round qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
The Lions go into the game trailing the Ivorians by two points and absolutely need a victory to progress to the next round while their opponents need just a point to guarantee their place into the next round.
The Lions’ only defeat in the group came against the same opponents back in September when they fell two goals to one at the Ebimpe stadium.
Lions Quench Flames
However, they go into tomorrow’s match buoyed by a four nil victory against the Flames of Malawi last Saturday at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.
For the game, head coach Toni Conceçaio reverted to his try and tested 4-3-3 formation with Andre Onana returning from his nine-month ban to regain his place between the sticks at the expense of Davis Epassy who had given a good account of himself as a deputy.
In the absence of the injured Harold Mokoudi, Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui had Jean Claude Billong as partner at the heart of the defence to pair in defence while Samuel Oum Gouet got a chance to impress in the middle of the park alongside Andre Franck Zambo Anguissa.
After a slow start to the game during the first quarter, Cameroon upped the ante with Andre Zambo Anguissa pulling the strings in midfield.
It is the playmaker who was at the start of a move that saw Momu Ngamaleu play Vincent Aboubakar through but the striker’s goal-bound shot was handled by defender John Banda who was shown a straight red card after the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty.
Aboubakar made no mistake as he tucked home the spot kick to settle all nerves and put the Lions into the driving seat. From there one, the Lions never looked back against a ten-man Malawian side short of ideas.
Four minutes before the break, the Lions got a second goal through Zambo Anguissa after a neat play between the midfielder and in-form winger Moumi Ngamaleu.
From there on, it was a professional performance in the second half with Moumi Ngamaleu leading the charge as the tormentor-in-chief but his final ball lacked the gloss to his electric runs and dribbles.
Head coach Toni Coach had the luxury of giving a breathing space to some of his key men as goal scorers Vincent Aboubakar and Zambo Anguissa were withdrawn for James Lea Siliki and Stephane Bahoken while Ngamaleu and Toko Ekambi ceded their places for Ignatius Ganago and Christian Bassogog.
The latter staked a claim to start tomorrow’s game by hitting a quick fire brace in the remaining five minutes of the game.
It was his first goals for the Lions in more than two year and a half years, His last goal for the Lions was in March 23, 2019 in the AFCON qualifier match pitting Cameroon against Comoros Island.
The Lions left for Cameroon immediately after the match and will be joined by Eric Choupo Moting cleared to travel after he has been isolating for a week after coming in contact with a COVID-19 case.
They Indomitable Lions hold their last training session today and a press conference before tomorrow night’s game at the Japoma sports Complex.