Friday, January 27, 2023

Cameroon roar back to draw thriller against Serbia

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Cameroon kept their hopes of reaching the World Cup last 16 alive as they battled back from two goals down to draw a six-goal thriller with Serbia in Group G.

Cameroon took the lead through Jean-Charles Castelletto but Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic replied to give Serbia a half-time advantage.

Aleksandar Mitrovic added a third for Serbia and they looked to be cruising to a win that would have put them in a strong position to progress from the group.

However the Indomitable Lions roared back thanks to Vincent Aboubakar’s superb lob and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s equaliser three minutes later.

Mitrovic had a chance to regain the lead for his side but the Fulham striker curled a shot wide in the closing moments after being teed up by Dusan Tadic.

Both sides lost their opening match so this result leaves them two points adrift of Brazil and Switzerland, who meet later on Monday (16:00 GMT).

In arguably the tournament’s most entertaining game so far, Serbia started brightly and Mitrovic twice went close to giving his side the lead.

He hit the post before flashing a shot wide after the ball fell kindly to him in the box as Serbia made all the early running.

However Cameroon took the lead against the run of play when Nicolas N’Koulou flicked on a corner and Castelletto tapped his first international goal home from close range.

Serbia did not panic, though, and turned the game on its head in first-half stoppage time.

Pavlovic headed Serbia’s first World Cup goal in 335 minutes of play before Milinkovic-Savic beat Cameroon keeper Devis Epassy, who was playing after Andre Onana was dropped for disciplinary reasons, with a low drive.

When Mitrovic finished off a brilliant Serbia passing move to give them a two-goal cushion, Dragan Stojkovic’s side looked to be heading for a comfortable victory.

However, substitute Aboubakar gave Cameroon hope when he raced clear and, perhaps thinking he was offside, cut inside past a defender and casually scooped the ball over Vanja Milinkovic-Savic for one of the tournament’s best goals.

Three minutes later the striker again beat the offside trap but this time squared the ball for ex-Stoke City striker Choupo-Moting to level from close range.

While Cameroon looked dangerous when they pushed for a winner, it was Mitrovic who had the best chance to snatch the victory, but he curled wide as Serbia were left to rue their inability to close out the match.

A defeat would have left Cameroon relying on Switzerland to beat Brazil in order to avoid elimination with a match to spare.

Instead Rigobert Song’s side retain hope of getting out of the group stage for the first time since 1990, albeit their final game will be a difficult match against Brazil.

Player of the match

AboubakarVincent Aboubakar

Cameroon

  1. Squad number10Player nameAboubakar

  2. Squad number20Player nameMbeumo

  3. Squad number11Player nameBassogog

  4. Squad number15Player nameKunde

  5. Squad number7Player nameNkoudou

  6. Squad number13Player nameChoupo-Moting

  7. Squad number14Player nameOum Gouet

  8. Squad number18Player nameHongla

  9. Squad number12Player nameToko-Ekambi

  10. Squad number21Player nameCastelletto

  11. Squad number5Player nameOndoua

  12. Squad number25Player nameTolo

  13. Squad number3Player nameNkoulou

  14. Squad number19Player nameCollins Fai

  15. Squad number8Player nameAnguissa

  16. Squad number16Player nameEpassy

Serbia

  1. Squad number20Player nameS Milinkovic-Savic

  2. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic

  3. Squad number10Player nameTadic

  4. Squad number23Player nameV Milinkovic-Savic

  5. Squad number2Player namePavlovic

  6. Squad number17Player nameKostic

  7. Squad number14Player nameZivkovic

  8. Squad number16Player nameLukic

  9. Squad number6Player nameMaksimovic

  10. Squad number4Player nameMilenkovic

  11. Squad number5Player nameVeljkovic

  12. Squad number21Player nameDjuricic

  13. Squad number13Player nameMitrovic

  14. Squad number26Player nameGrujic

  15. Squad number7Player nameRadonjic

  16. Squad number15Player nameBabic

Line-ups

Cameroon

Formation 4-3-3

  • 16Epassy
  • 19Fai Collins
  • 21Castelletto
  • 3NkoulouBooked at 24mins
  • 25Tolo
  • 8AnguissaSubstituted forOum Gouetat 81′minutes
  • 18HonglaSubstituted forAboubakarat 55′minutes
  • 15KundeSubstituted forOndouaat 67′minutes
  • 20MbeumoSubstituted forNkoudouat 81′minutes
  • 13Choupo-Moting
  • 12Toko-EkambiSubstituted forBassogogat 67′minutesBooked at 30mins

Substitutes

  • 1Ngapandouetnbu
  • 2Ngom Mbekeli
  • 4Wooh
  • 5Ondoua
  • 6Ngamaleu
  • 7Nkoudou
  • 9Nsame
  • 10Aboubakar
  • 11Bassogog
  • 14Oum Gouet
  • 17Mbaizo
  • 22Ntcham
  • 24Ebosse
  • 26Marou

Serbia

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 23V Milinkovic-Savic
  • 4MilenkovicBooked at 90mins
  • 5VeljkovicSubstituted forBabicat 78′minutes
  • 2PavlovicSubstituted forMitrovicat 56′minutes
  • 14ZivkovicSubstituted forRadonjicat 78′minutes
  • 6Maksimovic
  • 16Lukic
  • 17KosticSubstituted forDjuricicat 90+1′minutes
  • 10Tadic
  • 20S Milinkovic-SavicSubstituted forGrujicat 79′minutes
  • 9Mitrovic

Substitutes

  • 1Dmitrovic
  • 3Erakovic
  • 7Radonjic
  • 8Gudelj
  • 11Jovic
  • 12Rajkovic
  • 13Mitrovic
  • 15Babic
  • 18Vlahovic
  • 19Racic
  • 21Djuricic
  • 22Lazovic
  • 24Ilic
  • 25Mladenovic
  • 26Grujic

Referee:
Mohammed Abdulla Hassan

Attendance:
39,789

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