Cameroon 2 Comoros 1
The AFCON hosts made it through to the quarter-finals despite the heroics of the depleted Comoros team.
In particular, their replacement ‘goalkeeper’ Chaker Alhadhur who normally plays at left-back.
Alhadhur was brought in because his side had lost their regular goalies to covid and injuries.
As per the CAF rules Comoros were forced to fulfill the fixture.
And they certainly stepped up when everything seemed to go against them
Not only with an outfield player in goal but also to play nearly the whole game with ten men following the red card issued to Nadjim Abdou on eight minutes.
Despite their protests, the Ethiopian referee was adamant Abdou should go after his foul.
Amazingly Comoros restricted the Indomitable Lions to few direct efforts on goal.
In fact, they had more attempts at testing Onana for long periods of the game.
When Alhadhur was called into action he made some incredible saves including one memorable double block in the second period.
However, he couldn’t keep out Toko Ekambi’s effort in the first 45 which gave the hosts a one-goal lead.
The noise never subsided from the packed stadium but there was clearly a sense of trepidation as Cameroon struggled to create good chances.
Some alternatives were brought on by coach Toni Conceicao and eventually, his side developed more threats.
Which culminated in a through ball to Vincent Abubakar who held off a defender to poke the ball past Alhadhur for the clincher.
Leading competition scorer Abubakar thus added to his impressive tally.
Even then it was not quite over as Youssouf M’Changama blasted in a superb free-kick to make it 2-1.
And Comoros would end the match on the attack cruelly cut short as the referee blew for time, having only added on 3 minutes.
Ultimately it was a moral triumph for Comoros, at their first AFCON.
And they deserved to greet their small group of fans at the final whistle.
For Cameroon, it was a very unusual encounter and perhaps they could be forgiven for not really adjusting to the unique circumstances.
But they got it done and with the other newcomers, Gambia, to face in the quarter-finals they might be destined for at least the final four.
While all this was going on mayhem was ensuing outside as large numbers of fans tried to enter the stadium.
Sadly at least eight people were reported to have died in the crush.
That clearly overshadowed the football.
Report & Analysis - John Bethell