Onana saves penalty as Cameroon seal convincing win

Adebisi Aikulola
Adebisi Aikulola
Andre Onana

Vincent Aboubakar scored twice and Andre Onana saved a stoppage-time penalty as Cameroon convincingly beat Cape Verde 4-1 in Marc Brys’ first game in charge of the Indomitable Lions.

Brys’ appointment in April had opened up a row between the country’s football federation (Fecafoot) and its Ministry of Sport, but the Belgian coach’s introduction to international management was largely stress-free.

Cape Verde looked a shadow of the side which had reached the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year—one round further than Cameroon had managed—with set-pieces proving their undoing.

The result in Yaounde was beyond doubt when Onana saved Kevin Pina’s penalty in the 94th minute, and the Manchester United goalkeeper was then fouled by Gilson Benchimol when he attempted to gather the loose ball on his goalline.

The result takes the Central Africans back to the top of Group D in African qualifying for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, ahead of Libya on goal difference, with both teams on seven points after three games.

Africa will have nine sides at the expanded 2026 finals, with all qualifying group winners assured of a place in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Aboubakar doubled the lead 12 minutes later when he hooked in Ngamaleu’s cross following a well-worked short corner on the right.

Cape Verde puled one back eight minutes before the break when Jamiro Monteiro slotted Bebe’s through ball past the onrushing Onana.

But Cameroon restored their two-goal lead on the stroke of half-time, with Ngamaleu involved again as the Dynamo Moscow forward was brought down by Deroy Duarte and captain Aboubakar unerringly converted the resulting penalty.

The Indomitable Lions then made it 4-1 nine minutes into the second half when Nouhou Tolo held off centre-back Roberto Lopes to head home following another short corner.

In Saturday’s other qualifying tie, The Gambia thrashed Seychelles 5-1 in neutral Morocco to register their first victory in Group F.

Northern Irishman Johnny McKinstry was taking charge of the Scorpions for the first time, and the game was level at the break after Ryan Henriette cancelled out Mohamed Badamosi’s opener for the West Africans.

Musa Barrow’s penalty restored the lead and Badamosi netted again in between efforts from Yankuba Minteh and St Johnstone forward Adama Sidibeh as The Gambia eased to victory.

The fourth round of qualifying matches will take place between Sunday and Tuesday.

Brys opens with win after appointment row

The naming of Brys as Indomitable Lions coach in April opened up a rift between Cameroon’s sports ministry, which announced the appointment, and Fecafoot.

Fecafoot president Samuel Eto’o, the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker, had reportedly drawn up his own list of high-profile candidates for the role.

The appointment appeared to take Fecafoot by surprise and at the end of last month, it replaced Brys with an interim coach, but then reinstated the 62-year-old two days later.

The five-time continental champions were backed by a vocal crowd at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium and asserted control after Ngadeu’s opener.

Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo had a chance to get on the scoresheet in the second half from a one-on-one but Cape Verde keeper Vozinha stuck out a leg to divert the ball behind, and Cameroon netted their fourth goal from the resulting corner.

Cameroon will now travel to Luanda to take on Angola, who lie two points behind them in third place in Group D, on Tuesday

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