Cameroon come from behind to pip Guinea-Bissau in thriller
Africa Cup of Nations, Group A - Cameroon 2 (Siani 61, Ngadeu-Ngadjui 79) Guinea-Bissau 1 (Piqueti 13)
Two excellent goals from Cameroon, replying to one all-time great goal from Guinea-Bissau, put the Indomitable Lions in charge of Group A at the end of a breathless game in Libreville.
After a slow start, Cameroon created the first chance of the evening after 12 minutes, two brave blocks denying Clinton N'jie and Vincent Aboubakar. But just 60 seconds later, they were behind, Piqueti screeching down the left from halfway, beating three men, and cracking a shot into the top corner for one of the greatest goals in the tournament's history.
It took Cameroon a little while to regroup, but just before half-time, Aboubakar missed from 10 yards out when given plenty of time and space to finish competently.
Hugo Broos had work to do, so he removed N'Jie and sent on Toko Ekambi, whose conviction and directness made an immediate difference. But it took until the hour for an equaliser to arrive, Sebastien Siani drilling home after good work from Benjamin Moukandjo, the game's outstanding player.
Guinea-Bissau steadied themselves thereafter, but Cameroon's class always looked likely to tell, and with 12 minutes remaining, Christian Bassogog advanced down the left, eventually laying back for Michael Ngadeu who, from just outside the box, thundered the winner low inside the near post.
Cameroon now need a draw against Gabon to move into the quarter-finals, while Guinea-Bissau must beat Burkina Faso.
Why do we need lots? Had this game finished 1-1, and the final two games also finished 1-1, all four teams in the group would've been level on everything, a logjam that would've been resolved with the drawing of lots. In these days of aeroplanes, that is simply inexcusable. There is no reason not to settle such situations with a penalty shoot-out.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Benjamin Moukandjo (Cameroon) Easily the best player on the pitch, he was constantly prompting around the Guinea-Bissau box, creating the equaliser, various other opportunities, and generally leading in the manner befitting a captain.
Cameroon: Ondoa 6, Fai 6, Ngadeu 7, Teikeu 6, Oyongo 6, Mandjeck 6, Siani 7, Bassogo 7, Moukandjo 8, N'jie 5, Aboubakar 5. Subs: Toko 7, Nkoulou 6, Ndip Tambe 6.
Guinea-Bissau: Jonas 5, Cande 6, Juary 6, Rudinilson 6, Dabo 6, Zezinho 6, Santos 6, Brito 6, Mendes Soares 6, Nanissio 5, Piqueti 8. Subs: Camara 5, Sami 5, Idrissa 5.
Guinea-Bissau's forward Piqueti (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in LibrevilleAFP
It was seven years since Cameroon had won a game at the Cup of Nations. Now, they are well-placed to reach the knockouts, and if they can retain their second-half vigour, will cause Gabon plenty of problems on Sunday.
12’ - A chance! And what a chance! Teikeu hits a lovely diagonal for Bassogog, who chips to the back post where Njie takes it down, eight yards out. But Cande hurls himself in the road, and when the ball squirts square for AboubakaButr, Juary makes a further brilliant block to keep things goalless.
13’ - OH MY DAYS WHAT A GOAL! Cameroon 0-1 Guinea-Bissau (Piqeuti) Piqueti takes the ball inside his own half, left-hand side, and lifts it over Fai then does brilliantly to control it when it leaps off the turf on the other side. He then sets off again with two defenders huffing and puffing in his wake, cuts inside and into the box, across Ngadeu, and smacks a shot across Ondoa high into the top corner. Magical, wondrous behaviour, a goal of dreams.
42’ - Here we go, long ball into the box and Aboubakar does brilliantly, turning and leaping to knock down for Moukandjo. But the ensuing shot is into the ground, and Jonas collects easily.
43’ - Terrible miss! Njie burns down the left and cuts back for Aboubakar, in obscene amounts of space around the penalty spot. He has time to adjust his feet, allowing the ball across him, opening his body and right foot, but barely making any contact whatsoever! That is very naughty indeed.
54’ - Guinea nearly score again! Medny hassles Oyongo as he looks to shepherd a long hump back, robs him, and he's in! Ondoa rushes out, so the bouncing ball is lifted over him - it's a really composed finish - but Ngadeu does brilliantly to hook off the line, facing his own goal.
Ah, on second glance, the shot was drifting just wide.
61’ - GOAL! Cameroon 1-1 Guinea-Bissau (Siani) Guinea fail to clear after Toko goes on another run, and again, it's Moukandjo who picks up possession, laying back for Siani on the edge of the box, pretty central. And he powers a low shot into the bottom-left corner!
78’ - GOAL! Cameroon 2-1 Guinea-Bissau (Ngadeu) Bassogog nashes down the right and looks to have beaten Nandio who gets back at him at the last second. But the ball then goes back to Ngadeu, who fairly shmices a finish that rips past Jonas at his near post. The Cameroon bench go absolutely nuts and join in the celebrations.