AFCON 2023: Cameroon emerged unannounced to beat Gambia in Cup of Nations classic
Match reports and free highlights from Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations action as Cameroon and Gambia play out a five-goal thriller, which saw Christopher Wooh score a stoppage-time winner; Senegal beat Guinea, but both teams earn progression to the last 16
The latest from Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations matches with Gambia, Cameroon, Guinea and Senegal all in action on day 11 of the tournament.
Cameroon fought back with two goals in the closing stages to edge Gambia 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at the Africa Cup of Nations finals and advance from Group C after being minutes from elimination.
Defender Christopher Wooh netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner to put the Indomitable Lions second in the group behind Senegal. They finished ahead of Guinea on goals scored while Gambia were eliminated after a third successive loss – prompting Gambia head coach Tom Saintfiet to quit minutes after the final whistle.
Cameroon had to claw their way back in a game of relentless attack and end-to-end action to keep alive their hopes after falling 2-1 behind with only five minutes left.
Wooh headed home a corner in a riveting fightback in the first minute of stoppage time as all five goals came in an action-filled second half.
Gambia had dominated the first-half exchanges despite being 80 places below their much-vaunted opponents in the FIFA rankings, but Cameroon came out strongly after the break with Georges-Kevin Nkoudou rattling the crossbar in the 50th minute and then setting up the opening goal six minutes later for Karl Toko Ekambi.
The 31-year-old Toko Ekambi was a member of the Cameroon side who won the Cup of Nations in 2017 and showed his experience to get his head to a long through ball.
But a sudden burst of attack from Gambia had the Cameroon defence looking jittery and it was no surprise when Ablie Jallow equalised in the 72nd minute with a clever volley as he ghosted late into the box.
Alieu Fadera might have put Gambia ahead soon after but his shot clipped the outside of the post. But they swept into the lead in the 85th minute through substitute Ebrima Colley, who hit a powerful shot after a clever one-two pass with Assan Ceesay.
Cameroon needed to score twice in the remaining time and were level when James Gomez steered the ball into his own net with his outstretched leg as he attempted to clear.
Wooh then grabbed the winner in a stunning conclusion to set up a last-16 meeting with Nigeria in Abidjan on Saturday.
Cameroon dropped Andre Onana, after their 3-1 defeat to Senegal in their previous match, putting Fabrice Ondoa back in goal and while he looked far from assured initially he made several key stops to keep Gambia at bay.
Abdoulaye Seck and Iliman Ndiaye scored second-half goals as defending champions Senegal beat Guinea 2-0 in Yamoussoukro on Tuesday to make it three wins from three in Africa Cup of Nations Group C, as both teams advanced to the last-16.
In contrast to what we have seen so far in the Ivory Coast, it was a game of few clear-cut chances with neither side overly committed to attack. Unsurprisingly, the first goal came from a set-piece before Ndiaye provided a neat finish.
Senegal top the pool with nine points, followed by Cameroon on four as they edged Guinea on goals scored. The latter will also advance as one of the best third-placed teams.
Senegal, who have been finalists in the last two editions and won in 2021, had coach Aliou Cisse back in the dugout after he spent the night in hospital with an infection following their victory over Cameroon in their previous match.
Mauritania served up another shock result at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals to dump 2019 winners Algeria out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory and seal a historic place in the last-16 at the Stade de la Paix on Tuesday.
Mauritania had never led in any of their previous eight matches at the continental finals, let alone won a game, but a first-half goal from Yali Dellahi was enough to send Algeria packing in a second successive embarrassing early exit for coach Djamel Belmadis side after a similar failure in 2021.
Angola took top spot in Group D with seven points from three games followed by Burkina Faso on four points. Mauritania will be among the four best third-placed sides and earn a knockout spot. Algeria end fourth and look a shadow of the side that lifted the trophy in Egypt in 2019.
They dropped captain Riyad Mahrez to the bench against Mauritania but brought him on at half-time in a desperate bid to reverse their fortunes, which, in the end, proved fruitless.
Angola finished top of the group as Mabululu’s first-half header and a stoppage-time finish from Zini secured a 2-0 victory over Burkina Faso.
Mabululu’s 36th-minute header at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium came as Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore failed to clear a free-kick from Angola captain Fredy, and the striker headed home at the near post for his second goal of the tournament.
Substitute Zini then reacted quickest after Jeremie Bela’s effort at the start of stoppage time had been parried by Burkina goalkeeper Herve Koffi.
Burkina Faso, with Bournemouth’s Dango Ouattara leading their efforts on his return to the team from injury, looked the better of the two sides in a languid affair but they were not able to break down the stubborn Angola defence and had few chances.
It was only the second time in nine finals appearances that Angola topped their opening-round group. The other was when they hosted the tournament in 2010 but were then immediately eliminated in the knockout stage.
In the last-16, Angola will play against one of the best third-placed finishers, which are yet to be settled, in Bouake on Saturday. Burkina Faso face the winner of Group E, which will also be settled on Wednesday, with the knockout game to be played next Tuesday in Korhogo.