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U17 World Cup

U17 World Cup: Argentina defeat Cameroon to leave Lions on the brink of elimination

12:03 GMT+3 01/11/2019
U17 World Cup - Argentina vs Cameroon
The African champions lost a first-half lead against the Albiceleste, leaving them with a must-win match in the final group game against Spain

Cameroon suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Argentina on Thursday, and the loss at Estadio Kleber Andrade has pushed them closer to elimination from the Fifa U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

Having also lost their opening game against Tajikistan 1-0, the African champions are rooted to the bottom of Group E.

The Lions need a win against Spain, who defeated Tajikistan 5-1 earlier, in their final game on Sunday, November 3 if they are to have any chance of progressing to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Thomas Libiih’s troops started brighter and went in front through centre-back Francois Bere in the 10th minute of proceedings.

However, the South Americans gained control of the game from that point on, pinning the African nation in their half for the majority of the encounter.

The constant pressure they were put under by Pablo Aimar’s side prompted a series of fouls, which led to Serbian referee Srdan Jovanovic dishing out three yellow cards to Bere, Fabrice Mezama and Gael Dibongue before half-time.

Knowing full well his side needed a win after their opening goalless draw with Spain, Aimar made two changes at the start of the second half, with Ignacio Fernandez and Cristian Medina replacing Juan Sforza and David Ayala, respectively.

The Albiceleste head coach then followed that up with his third substitution in the 54th minute, with Santiago Simon withdrawn for Matias Godoy, who got one of Argentina’s goals.

The South American nation was rewarded four minutes after Aimar’s final tweak, as Alexis Flores drew them level in the 58th minute.

Cameroon’s Libiih made two substitutions afterwards by bringing on Severin Ze Essono for the booked Bere, while goalkeeper Manfred Ekoi was forced off with injury, and was replaced by Jacques Mbiandjeu.

The Ekoi injury proved costly for the Lions, given Argentina went in front through a Juan Pablo Krilanovich goal in the 63rd minute, which came after Mbiandjeu’s mistake, three minutes following his introduction.

The rest of the encounter saw Cameroon huff and puff as they chased an equaliser in Cariacica.

They were almost rewarded for their effort, but the woodwork denied them with 12 minutes remaining.

As the Lions tried to pull level for 2-2, they left themselves at the risk of counter-attacks, which Godoy took advantage of by making sure of the win with two minutes of normal time remaining.  

Aimar’s side could’ve added a fourth in the game’s closing stages only to see their effort come back off the woodwork.

The victory leaves Argentina in second place on four points, level with Spain who have a superior goal difference, with Tajikistan third with three points. 

Winless Cameroon have to beat Spain in their final game on Sunday to have any chance of avoiding an early exit from the showpiece to feature in the Round of 16.