Group D: Cameroon vs Gabon

14 Jan


The final group. What shocks could they possibly have in store for us today? Surely, we’ve seen all the comeback action and surprise packages that one tournament can offer? Someone please tell me the postal strike ended in time for Group D to behave as it should! Only time could tell. Roll on the Indomitable Lions.

With rival favourites struggling to get off to a strong start, I’m sure Cameroon looked to secure their place at the helm of Group D. They wouldn’t have entered the game lightly, knowing full well that Gabon, Azingo Nationale, would relish the opportunity to be the latest team to slay a giant. Gabon in contrast, would have gone into the game with nothing to lose, hoping to simply do their country an honourable service.

Cameroon got off to a pitiful start. Arsenal’s Song gave the ball away cheaply, giving Ambourouet a clear opportunity. I hope Song thanked Cameroon’s impressive keeper, Kameni, for getting him out of jail. Nerves were obviously frayed and the Lions looked ready to be taken. They showed excellent character however, getting back into the game and taking the “Lion’s” share of possession. Geremi in particular looked to have rolled back the years as he took control of the middle of the park. Cameroon begun to mesmerise the Gabon defence and looked favourite to score every time they came forward.

The spell was broken however, when  young starlet, N’Koulou, failed with a routine clearance which eventually lead to the first goal of the match. Cousin was almost stunned to find himself afforded space in the box, but kept his composure to drill the ball deep into the left corner. The Gabonese party had begun. 0 – 1

Cameroon kept their heads though and begun to have a bit more about their play, creating chances at will and expressing their desire to get back into the game. Wome came close with a spectacular effort that forced an equally spectacular save. While Geremi continued his powerful display in midfield, highlighted by a trademark free kick that Gabon keeper Ovono almost made a hash of. Luckily for Gabon, this Ovono’s howlers were not as costly as his peers’ in the past 4 days.

Gabon were happy to see the half time, having defended valiantly for a good half hour. Surely they couldn’t hold out much longer?

Cameroon begun to look for star man Eto’o, but like Drogba on Monday, he cut a forlorn figure on the wing and made little impact. The Lions begun to look desparate but to no avail. To make matters worse, Kameni looked like he would join the list of ruesome keepers as he begun fumbling routine catches. I half expected him to flap the ball onto one of his defenders and cause an impossible own goal! I won’t even begin to tell you about Ovono’s determination to score an own goal.

Cameroon seemed to lack a cutting edge up front. Gabon sensed blood and tightened up at the back shutting out attacks that reigned in thick and fast. Geremi again got the best chances from free kicks, smashing one off the crossbar and forcing Ovono to earn his pay with another.

Gabon put in a commendable backs-against-the-wall display, almost adding insult to injury when Aubameyang hit the crossbar with a free kick. To say they deserved the points feels unjust considering Cameroon’s efforts, but you have to take your chances. Credit where it’s due, Gabon stuck to their task and made it difficult for Cameroon in a game that brought 3 words to mind, Smash and Grab!

With yet another shock result, you get a sense of how important the game was to Gabon when they celebrated on the pitch like they had won the tournament.

Final Score: Cameroon 0 – 1 Gabon

Man of the Match: I don’t like giving man of the match to a losing player but today it goes to Geremi.

Do I really need to do a Goal of the Match for a 1 – 0?

Talking point: Who has the best hairdo at the Africa Cup of Nations?


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