The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are through to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Cup tournament after they defeated AFCON debutants, The Gambia 2-0.
The goals came in a seven-minute second half spell from Karl Toko Ekambi.
Six-time AFCON champions, Cameroon fired the first salvo in the 14th minute through Vincent Aboubakar but his right foot shot was high and wide. Noah Sonko-Sundberg was shown the first yellow card for a foul on Aboubakar in the 21st minute as the hosts tried to gain more of the ball possession.
Ekambi then had a shot blocked two minutes later. In the 26th minute, The Gambia goalkeeper, Baboucarr Gaye made his first real save from a left-footed shot by the dangerous Nouhou Tolo.
Left-back, Collins Fai’s attempt from outside the box went wide and Aboubakar saw his header narrowly miss the target in the 31st minute.
It was all hands to the defensive pump by Coach Tom Saintfiet’s men. Jean-Charles Castelletto had an attempt blocked as the Lions tried to open the scoring in front of 46,000 of their countrymen and Aboubakar had a header saved. Gaye was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 40th minute as the Scorpions laboured to put three passes together.
The second half was first minutes old when Fai’s cross was expertly headed past Gaye by Ekanbi to give the Lions the lead and the second came seven minutes after when Ekanbi ran onto a low cross from Martin Hongla to double the lead.
The hosts then chose to keep the ball and wound down the time. The Gambia had their first shot on target in the 77th minute through Ebrima Colley but it was well saved by Andre Onana. Coach Antonio Conceicao made substitutions and one of the subs, Clinton N’Jie almost added a third with three minutes left on the clock and the rebound fell to Aboubakar, who ballooned his attempt over the bar.
The Lions were too good, too experienced for the Scorpions and they will face either Egypt or Morocco Faso in the first semi-final on February 3 at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.
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