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Second half surge helps Cameroon sprint past Ethiopia

2021 Africa Cup of Nations hosts Cameroon got off to another slow start in their second Group match against Ethiopia, but two goals each from forwards Karl Toko Ekambi and Vincent Aboubakar spurred the Indomitable Lions to a 4-1 romp over the Walias on Thursday. Dawa Hotessa got Ethiopia off to a dream start with his goal in the opening five minutes, but before ten minutes were over the match was level and Cameroon overwhelmed the Ethiopia defense in the second half to guarantee their spot in the knockout stages.

Ethiopia came out with nothing to lose and were rewarded for not sitting back at the start. In the 4th minute, the Cameroonian defense was caught off guard when Saint George forward Amanuel Gebremichael got free down the right flank and picked out an unmarked Hotessa with his cross. All the 25-year-old Adama City attacker had to do was apply the finish from six yards out and goalkeeper André Onana had little chance as the low shot rolled by.

The joy was short-lived for Ethiopian supporters, however, and soon after a furious Cameroonian attack put the match back on level terms. Aboubakar found space outside the penalty area and launched a shot that was pushed to the side by Ethiopia keeper Teklemariam Shanko. Cameroon right back Collins Fai tracked the rebound down on the wing and picked out an unmarked Toko Ekambi at the far post for a powerful header past Shanko.

Despite conceding an immediate equalizer, Ethiopia were not deterred and could have snatched the lead back before halftime. In the 24th minute, Hotessa had another excellent chance from close range after Onana saved a shot into the forward’s path. However, Hotessa could not get his feet right and fluffed his lines at the crucial moment. Soon before halftime, Cameroon just missed out on the lead when Moumi Ngamaleu’s corner kick found Toko Ekambi for a header that went off the post and out.

After the halftime break, it was a completely different match and the hosts went on to dominate. The go-ahead goal came in the 53rd minute when full back Fai found room on the right flank again and launched in another precise cross. Aboubakar was waiting in the penalty area and delivered a bouncing header to beat Shanko, putting the Indomitable Lions ahead for good. Only two minutes later it was Aboubakar who doubled his tally off a close range finish from a Ngamaleu cross to wrap up a decisive team attack, making it four goals in the competition for the Cameroon captain so far.

Toko Ekambi put away any hope of an Ethiopian comeback in the 67th minute with his second goal of the match. The Olympique Lyon player was sent in down the left wing and cut inside, shaking off two defenders before dispatching a hard low shot past Shanko at his near post. Ethiopia’s defense was simply overwhelmed early in the second half and failed to gather themselves, conceding three goals in a 15-minute span to sink any faint knockout stage hopes.

Cameroon finish their group stage fixtures with Monday’s clash against Cape Verde while Ethiopia attempt to earn a result against Burkina Faso. Highlights of the match are below.

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