Sunday, July 21, 2024

Brave 10-Man Guinea Hold Cameroon In Another AFCON Surprise

Guinea joined a growing list of surprise sides at the Africa Cup of Nations by drawing 1-1 against five-time champions Cameroon in Group C on Monday despite playing the second half with 10 men.

Mohamed Bayo gave Guinea the lead before captain Francois Kamano was sent off just before half-time. Frank Magri equalised early in the second half, but a winning goal eluded Cameroon.

The brave Guinean showing on day three followed a string of unexpected results on Sunday with Cape Verde defeating Ghana, Mozambique holding Egypt and Equatorial Guinea drawing with Nigeria.

Earlier on Monday, Lamine Camara scored twice as title-holders Senegal outplayed Gambia 3-0 with the losers also having a player sent off late in the first half.

Cameroon did not include Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana in the matchday 23 after he arrived in the Ivorian capital just a few hours before the kick-off.

Onana delayed his arrival so that he could play for United in a 2-2 Premier League draw against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Coach Rigobert Song chose Fabrice Ondoa as his starting goalkeeper with two other shot-stoppers, Devis Epassy and Simon Ngapandouetnbu, on the bench.

Cameroon, seeking a sixth title and second in four editions, were also missing star forward and leading 2022 Cup of Nations scorer Vincent Aboubakar, who was ruled out by a thigh injury.

Guinea suffered a huge pre-match blow when Serhou Guirassy, scorer of 17 goals for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga this season, was ruled out by a knee injury.

In the absence of Guirassy, Bayo was the attacking spearhead and he gave the Syli National (national elephants) a shock lead on 10 minutes.

His first goal attempt was parried by Ondoa, but Cameroon failed to clear the ball and when it came back to Bayo, he slammed it into the net.

Subsequently, Cameroon won plenty of possession but were unable to seriously trouble Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahima Kone.

In a Guinea counterattack, audacious Sekou Sylla came close to scoring with a long-range shot that had Ondoa frantically backtracking before it landed on the roof of the net.

Guinea suffered a huge blow in the first half of added time when Kamano was sent off after the Egyptian referee changed his initial yellow card to a red for a foul on Magri.

The match official altered his decision after going to the touchline VAR monitor and seeing Kamano stamp from behind on the heel of his opponent.

Cameroon applied pressure from the start of the second half and Magri levelled on 51 minutes with a far-post header across Kone after a pin-point cross by Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.

Kone rescued Guinea as the end of regular time approached, first parrying, then grasping the ball after a close-range shot from Karl Toko Ekambi.

There were water breaks in both halves to assist the players, who had to contend with 36 Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) heat when the match kicked off in the central city.

In the second series of group matches on Friday, Cameroon tackle Senegal and Guinea face Gambia in a Yamoussoukro double-header.

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