BY Afeseh Apong
The Desert foxes of Algeria have beaten the indomitable lions of Cameroon one_nil, in the first leg last round qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World cup.
Islam Slimani scored the lone goal of the game late in the first half, to take the Desert foxes of Algeria closer to Qatar 2022.
Rigobert Song’s indomitable lions had a lively start to the game at the Japoma stadium on Friday evening, with Olympique Lyonnaise forward Karl Toko Ekambi hitting Rais M’Bolhi’s goal post from a free kick.
Cameroon looked the better side going forward, but Algeria took the lead with just five minutes to spare in the first half, when Islam Slimani headed a well measured Youcef Belaïli’s free kick, into the back of Andre Onana’s net.
Cameroon was dealt a blow before the second segment, when captain Vincent Aboubakar reportedly picked up an injury, and didn’t return to pitch.
Tawamba Kana replaced the Al Nassr forward, while Kevin Soni came in for Martin Hongla.
Play was temporarily interrupted because of power outage in one part of the Japoma stadium, but Tawamba Kana was the first person to test goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi, when play eventually resumed.
Algeria’s Coach Djamel Belmadi, made a triple substitution, with Riyad Mahrez, Zerrouki and Slimani, replaced by Belfodil, Bendebka and Feghouli.
For Cameroon, Gael Bella Ondoua was handed his debut, when he was brought in late on, to take the place of Jean Onana.
Choupo Moting and his teammates searched harder, but could not find an equalizer, as an eighth world cup appearance for the indomitable lions now looks complicated.
For the Desert foxes of Algeria, they’re 90 minutes away from Qatar, and will have all the home advantage to their favor, when they host Cameroon at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida, on March 29.
The winner of the tie will grab one of the five tickets to represent Africa at the 2022 FIFA World cup, schedule for Qatar later this year.
Starting XI Cameroon
23 Andre Onana, 5 Michael Ngadeu, 21 Jean-Charles Castelletto, 11 Nouhou Tolo, 19 Collins Faï, 14 Samuel Oum Gouet, 18 Martin Hongla, 12 Karl Toko Ekambi, 7 Jean Onana, 13 Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 10 Vincent Aboubakar.
Starting XI Algeria
23 Rais M’Bolhi, 4 Djamel Benlamri, 2 Aïssa Mandi, 21 Ramy Bensebaini, 3 Houcine Benayada, 8 Youcef Belaïli, 6 Ramiz Zerrouki, 22 Ismaël Bennacer, 13 Islam Slimani, 15 Abdelkader Bedrane, 7 Riyad Mahrez.
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