Monday, 30 January, 2023
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Cameroon fight back to draw thriller

Cameroon fight back to draw thriller
Cameroon’s forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during World Cup Group G football match against Serbia at Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah on Monday. –AFP PHOTO

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Cameroon kept their hopes of making the last 16 of the World Cup alive on Monday after fighting back from two goals down to draw a thrilling Group G encounter with Serbia 3-3.

Rigobert Song's team looked almost dead and buried after goals from Strahinja Pavlovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic gave Serbia a 3-1 lead early in the second half.

But substitute Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting snatched a draw with two quick-fire strikes just after the hour mark to leave both Cameroon and Serbia on a single point, two behind group leaders Brazil and Switzerland.

Had they lost, Cameroon would have been relying on the Swiss beating Brazil in order to not be eliminated with a game to spare, but instead the west Africans still have a chance of getting out of the group stage for the first time since 1990.

Cameroon have a tough task ahead as they play Brazil in their final match, which according to reports they will play without first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana who was dropped from the matchday squad just hours before kick-off following an unspecified disciplinary issue.

Media reports suggest that Onana has been sent home from the World Cup after a disagreement with Song, but that pre-match turmoil didn't stop Cameroon putting in a fighting display against a Serbia team who probably deserved to win on the balance of play.  The match looked over when Serbia took a 3-1 lead but from nowhere Cameroon sprung back into life thanks to Aboubakar's odd goal.

Aboubakar's pace caused Serbia all kinds of problems and he laid on Choupo-Moting's leveller, bursting down the right and laying on a simple finish for the Bayern Munich forward which sparked wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.

Neither side could find a winner in an end-to-end finish to the game and their bids to make the knockouts will go down to the final game.