Algeria 1-2 Cameroon (aet) (2-2 on agg.): Indomitable Lions book World Cup berth
Karl Toko Ekambi Burkina Faso vs Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations 2021
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Karl Toko Ekambi struck an extra-time winner as the Central Africans secured their place in Qatar

Karl Toko Ekambi netted a 125th-minute winner for Cameroon as they defeated Algeria 2-1 away to draw 2-2 on aggregate and qualify for their record-extending eighth World Cup on away goals.

The Indomitable Lions were 1-0 down following the first leg after Islam Slimani scored the only goal of the game between the two sides at the Stade Japoma, Douala, and were up against it facing an Algeria side with a fearsome record in Blida.

However, Eric Choupo-Moting netted in the 22nd minute to draw the two sides level, despite the Fennecs’ overall dominance.

In extra-time, substitute Ahmed Touba thought he’d sent Algeria to Qatar with a goal in the 118th minute, only for Toko Ekambi to respond at the death to send Cameroon through to the World Cup.

The Central Africans, who finished third at the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil earlier this year, have now qualified for the tournament on eight occasions, more than any other side from the continent.

With Cameroon facing elimination in the dying stages of the contest, the Lions threw everyone forward, and were rewarded when Toko Ekambi slammed home from close range, reacting quickest to meet a knockdown.

Only moments earlier, with the tie ambling towards penalties, Touba appeared to have settled the contest when he rose highest to head home from Rachid Ghezzal’s cross in the 118th minute as two of Djamel Belmadi’s substitutes combined to give Algeria a late advantage.

The contest had gone to extra time after Choupo-Moting had cancelled out Algeria’s first leg advantage midway through the first half, even though replays indicated that he’d shoved Aissa Mandi into Rais Mbolhi in the build-up to the goal.

The opener came against the run of play, with Algeria dominating the early stages of the fixture.

However, as had been the case during their miserable title defence at the Africa Cup of Nations, their possession dominance and attractive build-up play didn’t result in goals, with Slimani—the match-winner in the first leg—failing to capitalise on Andre Onana’s misjudgement in the first minute.

Riyad Mahrez and Youcef Belaili combined superbly on several occasions, only for Algeria’s other forwards to fail to beat Onana, although the latter was also guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance moments after Choupo-Moting’s opener when he found himself one on one with the Ajax goalkeeper.

The hosts had several convincing penalty calls—including a handball—during the latter stages of the first half, as they sought to exert greater pressure on Cameroon, but referee Bakary Gassama was unmoved.

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Mahrez was also denied by Onana when he unleashed a right-footed effort at goal early in the first half, while M’Bolhi was also called into action soon after the hour-mark as Cameroon enjoyed a rare foray forward.

Early in extra-time, Slimani again saw another effort sail harmlessly wide as he met Houcine Benayada’s fine cross with a header, before later being denied by Onana in a similar situation, and also had the ball in the back of the net, only for VAR to intervene and rule out the strike.