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Syria 2-2 Cameroon: The Red Eagles hold the Local Lions to a draw
Cameroon got their noses ahead twice in the game but failed to hold on for a win against a resilient Syrian outfit....
By Ayush Srivastava
A battling Syria twice came from a goal down to hold Cameroon to a 2-2 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.
Kingue Mpondo headed Cameroon ahead in the 17th minute before Alaa Alshbli equalized with a header of his own. Ebanga Bertin scored from the spot in the 55th minute after Mosab Balhous was adjudged to have bought down Kologny Vigny Merime, but the Red Eagles valiantly equalized for the second time when Oday Jaffal’s shot from just inside the box found the back of the net.
Syria made a host of changes to the side that lost 2-1 to India, with Hani Al Tayar, Taha Mosa and Mod. Al Rafai being some of the prominent players who were dropped to the bench as Mosab Balhous, Abdul Kadir Almjarmesh and Yaser Sushura were given a chance in the starting line-up by Marwan Khouri.
The game started rather ominously for the Red Eagles though, as Cameroon seemed to settle early and troubled the Syrian defense with their pace and movement down the wings.
Hence it was no surprise when in the 17th minute Kingue Mpondo headed the Lions ahead with a thunderous header, after being criminally left unmarked inside the box.
The African nation looked good value for their lead in the first half an hour, as they completely dominated their opponents on the pitch.
However the Syrians slowly but steadily got back into the game as the half progressed, using a more direct style of play to bypass Cameroon’s dominant midfield. The tactic seemed to be working as Syria suddenly had a couple of opportunities on goal, which they failed to convert.
Eventually though, they did equalize when Alaa Alshbli in the 42nd minute headed in a brilliant freekick by Jaffal, with Cameroon’s keeper caught in no man’s land.
The goal ensured the two teams went into half-time tied at 1-1.
The second half started in the same way as the first as Cameroon pressed ahead on the lookout for a goal to yet again put them ahead in the tie, with Ebanga Bertin and Ousmila Baba looking to up the tempo.
The Lions were then awarded a penalty when Balhous was adjudged to have fouled Merime inside the box and Bertin made no mistake from the spot, putting Emmanuel Bosso’s men ahead yet again.
Sushara had an opportunity to level the scores yet again, but Cameroon’s custodian, Ngome Lawrence produced a stellar save to deny the Red Eagles.
Khouri’s side though continued to force the issue and eventually equalized for a second time, when Jaffal found the back of the net with a venomous strike, after being set-up by Alshbli in the 80th minute.
Both the teams then had chances to win the tie, with Cameroon in particular coming close with Ashu Tambe, but eventually the two teams had to settle for a point, with the referee bringing the proceedings to a close with the scoreline at 2-2.
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