By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com Cameroon
Union Sportive of Douala lost to Dragon of Yaoundé in a game that began on a very high tempo.
Dragon combined well and opened the scoring as early as the 9th minute through Jean Etele.
Union had more of the ball but did not create any clear cut chances.
They were dealt huge blow when their most entrepreneurial player Landry Abessolo Manga was forced to abandon the game with what looked like a hamstring injury at the 25th minute.
Luckily for him and the rest of the players it wasn’t a very serious injury as no ambulances could be seen in the stadium though Dr Divine Wose was present.
He was replaced by Jean Claude Kameni who unfortunately did not produce anything close to what Abessolo had been doing.
The ever present Samuel Nlend has been Union’s messiah on countless occasions, like the captain that he is, he came to their rescue again.
He was bundled down at the edge of the box, and he picked up the ball and deed justice to himself and his team at the 32nd minute.
A full stretched Dragon goalkeeper Yindui Mohamed could not prevent his low shot to hit the back of the net to the delight of their traditionally very vocal President Franck Happi.
Both teams canceled out each other till the end of the first half with rare clear cut chances, apart from a beautiful save drawn from Union’s goalkeeper by Jean Etele from a well taken free kick.
Upon resumption of play, Union’s coach Daniel Walinjom brought in former New Stars of Douala playmaker from Congo, Camille Kouyakimina in the place of Joseph Welle.
Francois Ngoumou of Dragon opted for stability and showed faith in the same starting eleven.
Union took control of the game but failed to trouble Yindui Mohamed who was playing in front of a partisan Limbe public, given that he grew up in Limbe.
A telling pass from the commanding an outstanding Union midfielder Toussaint Berenger fell to the less inspired Kameni who flopped his lines and missed the glearing chance.
While Union enjoyed their passing game, Dragon kept it tight at the back with Peleg Ajomiah and Fernandinho Makembe. Makembe was one of two players to survive from the Dragon dream team of last season, alongside Peleg.
A good combination between Camille and right back John Efufa led to a similar free-kick that led t Union’s equalizer. Their supporters were full of hope when Nlend stepped up again. He had a similar execution but the outcome was different as the low shot was deflected and agonizingly went wide.
Union’s central defensive pair of Stephane Ougene and Salif Ali had looked shaky at times and that would prove to be their undoing.
A calm pass from Berenger to Salif Ali was fumbled to his hands and refree Ngwa Blaise pointed to the spot.
Makembe stepped up and made no mistake to give Dragon a 2-1 lead they will not relinquish till the end of the game, at the 76th minute.
A long distant effort from Berenger pulled a fine save from Yindui but the best chance of the game for Union fell to the unfortunate Salif Ali when goalkeeper Yindui parried a shot to his feet, but he failed to redeem himself as the goalkeeper again made sure.
Union’s goalkeeper Philemon Ghislain had a game of all emotions, he made some shaky and unreassuring outings from his goal but also produced some top saves like the one from Jean Etele in the dying moments of the game from another well executed free-kick.
Dragon’s Adolf Nkembe Enow had an eye catching display, though he did not score. He kept Union’s back line on their toes all day.
The introduction of Hamza Adama for Union could not help them salvage a point.
For a third season consecutively Union have lost their opening game to the great disappointment of their supporters who did not leave the Centenary Stadium in Limbe, without making their feelings known to their President.
According to Dragon’s President Max Kome, this is just the beginning of big things to happen for Dragon who will be looking to better their fourth place finish last season.
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