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FIFA WWC Qualifying: Late penalty eliminates Cameroon at final hurdle

Supporters of the Cameroon women’s national team went through the full range of possible emotions during their match against Portugal in the final round of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup inter-confederation playoff but in the end the Indomitable Lionesses came up just short. Cameroon fell 2-1 to Portugal in a match that saw the Lionesses find a dramatic late equalizer only to concede a late goal deep into second half stoppage time, a result that has the team leaving New Zealand wondering what could have been.

Portugal started on the front foot, finding the opening goal in the 22nd minute. A powerful curled free kick from Francisca Nazareth beat Cameroon goalkeeper Catherine Biya and came back off the post right to Diana Gomes who turned in with Biya still on the ground from her diving attempt on the initial free kick.

After trading opportunities throughout the ninety minutes it appeared Cameroon found their equalizer in the 84th minute when Michaela Abam got behind the Portuguese defense and finished but she was judged to be offsides. However Ajara Nchout’s excellent turn and low finish five minutes later brought the Lionesses back level with what appeared to be a momentum building strike for extra time.

When Portugal created one more chance in stoppage time the heartbreak arrived for the Cameroonians after the Video Assistant Referee judged that Estelle Johnson used her hand in the penalty area to block a shot attempt. The resulting penalty kick saw Carole Costa roll her effort just beyond the reach of Biya and Portugal were through to the finals in Australia/New Zealand 2023.

Highlights of the match are below.


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