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Disjointed Cameroon fall to Algeria at home, putting 2022 World Cup hopes in jeopardy

Algeria came back to the scene of their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations nightmare campaign and bounced back in a major way, defending excellently in their 1-0 first leg victory in Douala over Cameroon to take a massive step towards qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. All-time leading scorer Islam Slimani headed in a free kick to give the Fennecs an edge for the return leg in Algeria while Cameroon has plenty of work to do to revive their hopes of making it to Qatar.

The hosts looked nothing like the constant attacking threat they were while hosting the 2021 AFCON and made it far too easy for the Algerians to settle in and get comfortable. Outside of a hopeful effort that flashed wide from Vincent Aboubakar in the 6th minute, the Indomitable Lions made plenty of attacking movements but lacked ideas once they approached the Algerian penalty area.

Islam Slimani got the nod up top for the visitors with Baghdad Bounedjah axed from the squad, and the Sporting CP marksman made an impact. The 33-year-old got behind the Cameroonian defense in the 13th minute and forced an outstanding reflex save from Indomitable Lions keeper André Onana. Slimani would not be denied in the 40th minute, however, leaping up to meet a Youcef Belaïli free kick and producing a powerful header that Onana tipped off the crossbar and into the goal.

New Cameroon manager Rigobert Song attempted to shake things up, making a curious double substitution at halftime by removing 2021 AFCON stars Vincent Aboubakar and Martin Hongla. The struggles continued for the hosts who were limited to launching hopeful aerial balls into the box that the Algerian defense handled with relative ease. The disappointment was palpable at the final whistle from the home support and there will be many questions ahead of the return leg in Blida.

Highlights of the match are below.

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