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Cameroon edge Ivory Coast in clash of African heavyweights to advance in WCQ

The joy and agony of football was on full display following the conclusion of Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Cameroon and Ivory Coast, with the Indomitable Lions winning 1-0 in Douala to advance to the final round. A tightly contested matchup saw Karl Toko Ekambi’s 21st minute goal stand as the winner for Cameroon to get the result they needed while sending a disappointed Ivorian side out of contention. Cameroon overtakes their opponents to win Group D with fifteen points while the Elephants finish two points behind in second.

Opportunities were difficult to come by with both teams knowing the high stakes of the match. A draw or win for Ivory Coast would have seen them hold onto first place in the group, but Cameroon came up with the crucial play to set them towards the win they needed. Martin Hongla started the goal sequence when he dispossessed an Ivorian player on the right flank and dribbled towards the penalty area before slipping a pass to Ekambi. The Olympique Lyonnais striker sent a shot from ten yards into the roof of the net past Ivorian keeper Sylvain Gbohouo to give the hosts a huge lead.

The Ivorians had an excellent chance to equalize in the 33rd minute. Max Gradel received the ball on the left wing and had room to send in an accurate cross to find Franck Kessié at the edge of the Cameroonian six-yard box. Kessié connected with a first time volley but goalkeeper André Onana came up with a splendid reaction save to deny the AC Milan player from equalizing.

Cameroon did not venture forward as much after being up at the half, and the Ivorians had to try and break down the hosts to find a leveler. The Elephants struggled to generate chances and it took until the 71st minute for a good look at goal when Sebastien Haller headed off the crossbar and over from a wide service. Arsenal forward Nicolas Pépé was brought on to aid the cause and skipped by a Cameroonian defender in the 84th minute, but his shot was blocked.

Frustration was the theme of the day for Ivory Coast as they could not break down the wall Cameroon put in front of their goal. Ibrahim Sangaré received a pass in the 86th minute and maneuvered to find space, but his shot through the crowd went just wide with Onana beaten if the effort had been on target. Cameroonian supporters erupted with ecstasy at the final whistle with the Indomitable Lions doing just enough to book their spot in the final round.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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