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World Cup

Cameroon winners & losers as Indomitable Lions hold Serbia in thriller

11:49 pm AEDT 28/11/22
Onana, Song, Zambo Anguissa
Cameroon keep their World Cup hopes alive with a rousing second-half comeback against Serbia
  • Cameroon Serbia

    Cameroon 3-3 Serbia

    A rousing second-half comeback was enough for Cameroon to break their eight-game losing steak at the World Cup as they held Serbia 3-3 to avoid elimination from the ongoing tournament.

    The Indomitable Lions may have taken an unlikely early lead through Jean-Charles Castelletto, but it was shortlived, as Serbia struck twice in first-half stoppage time.

    The Europeans added a third early in the second half as the Indomitable Lions threatened to implode, but super-sub Vincent Aboubakar had other ideas.

    He reduced the deficit by scooping the ball over Vanja Milinkovic-Savic just after the hour mark, before setting up Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting three minutes later.

  • ANDRE ONANA CAMEROON

    Loser: Andre Onana

    Cameroon were rocked before kick-off with the news that first-choice keeper Onana had been axed, allegedly for disagreeing with coach Rigobert Song’s instruction to play less adventurously and more conservatively.

    Now Internazionale’s starting keeper, Onana is one of Cameroon’s best players and arguably one of the top keepers in the tournament.

    However, his World Cup prospects—and potentially even his international future—are in tatters after a behind-the-scenes dispute.

  • Devis Epassy Cameroon.

    Winner: Devis Epassy

    Dropped in at the deep end to replace Onana at the last minute, it was never going to be an easy outing for Epassy, and in truth, he struggled during the first half.

    The Saudi Arabia-based stopper lacked authority at set pieces, and was at fault for Serbia’s second, however, he made amends with two outstanding stops in the second half.

    He denied Aleksandar Mitrovic in the 90th minute, having earlier made a big one-on-one stop to keep Cameroon’s heads above water.

    The Lions have Epassy to thank for still being alive in this tournament.

  • Rigobert Song Cameroon 2022 World Cup

    Loser: Rigobert Song

    Beyond the dispute with Onana—although we don’t know the full details—Song also left a lot to be desired with some of his tactical decisions.

    He deserves credit for the introduction of Vincent Aboubakar, but there must be questions about why the Africa Cup of Nations top scorer wasn’t in the starting XI from the off, considering how toothless the Lions were against Switzerland.

    Similarly, Song appeared not to recognise how much Dusan Tadic was hurting the West Africans behind the line, with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa being called upon to press forward and Martin Hongla not sitting on the Ajax playmaker to mark him out of the game.

    It was perhaps yet another example of Song’s tactical naivety, and the head coach must also face questions for the decision to axe influential centre-back Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui before the tournament.

  • Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon

    Winner: Vincent Aboubakar

    Once tipped as the ‘New Samuel Eto’o’, it may be more appropriate to consider Aboubakar as the ‘New Roger Milla’ as the veteran rolled back the years to prove that he can be the Lions’ super sub at this World Cup.

    He was mesmerising after coming on the pitch, immediately flummoxing the Serbia defenders with his footwork—which should have been a warning sign of things to come.

    Immediately, Cameroon had someone who ran in behind, and Serbia were too slow to adapt.

    He beat the offside trop before scoring with a delicious scooped effort, and then demonstrated poise and composure to set up Choupo Moting.

    How Cameroon now need him to deliver more heroics against Brazil.

  • Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

    Loser: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

    One of Cameroon’s outstanding players in the first half of the 22-23 season so far, Zambo Anguissa had been expected to be a key player for the Lions in this World Cup.

    However, he was at fault for Serbia’s second—bizarrely attempting to control the ball with his chest on the edge of the box while being pressured by two opponents—having earlier lost concentration—and his marker—for the Europeans’ first.

    The Napoli star was outmanned in midfield—failing to set up a single goalscoring opportunity—while seeing less of the ball than both Pierre Kunde and Martin Hongla, both of whom were substituted before him.