By Shane | January 13th, 2010 | WorlcupBlog
In a mild surprise Gabon beat African heavyweights Cameroon today 1-0 in Lubango. While I was forecasting a victory for the Indomitable Lions, I was not anticipating a profligacy in front of goals by the Lions. I also said that I didn’t know just how good Gabon are, well I still don’t but they are definitely dangerous. Their next two games will determine just how good and just how dangerous. It was a deserved result for Gabon though Cameroon will certainly but kicking themselves for the number of chances they failed to convert.
I did not see the match due to work (ugh) but from what I gather the first half was pretty evenly contested. Achille Emana had the first great chance of the match with a rasping shot that Gabon keeper Didier Ovono did well to get hand on which guided the shot off his far post. Emana would be lively all game, no surprise there. Gabon would get the only goal of the match in the 17th minute and to be perfectly honest it was an opportunistic goal as a defensive error by Nicolas Nkoulou allowed Daniel Cousin to get in behind the defense and shoot past Carlos Kameni.
The second half would prove to be a typical underdog tries to hold onto a 1-0 lead against more fancied squad. By most
accounts the second half was all about Cameroon. Unfortunately that did not include putting the ball past Ovono who had a man of the match type performance. Cameroon created a whole host of chances but it was one of those days where they could not find a goal. In the end it was Gabon that came closer to a second in the dying minutes when the the bar denied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
You will notice that I have not mentioned Samuel Eto’o yet and that is because he was very much on the periphery of the match. For Cameroon the main danger man was Emana and Eto’o did not see enough of the ball although he did create some chances when he did. If Cameroon are to win this tournament that will have to change. If Eto’o, who is not fully fit, and Emana are both on song at the same time then the Cameroon attack becomes exceedingly difficult to handle.
Here was the starting line up Le Guen sent out:
Kameni, Geremi, Nkoulou, R. Song, Bedimo, A. Song, Makoun, Nguemo, Emana, Eto’o, Webo
The substitutions were Somen Tchoyi for Nguemo in the 46nd, Mohammadou Idrissou for Webo in the 64th and Eyong Enoh for Bedimo in the 76th. No Mbia today who is also struggling for full fitness thus ruining my prediction that he would score a goal. This result also marks the first time that Cameroon have failed to win under Paul Le Guen. Not the best time for that but not the worst either.
Now looking ahead. Am I worried about this loss? No. Do I think Cameroon will fail to qualify for the Quarterfinals? No.
The answers to those two questions are both resounding No’s. Why you ask? Because Cameroon can beat any opponent (African anyway) anywhere on the continent. They have proved it many times in the past. They won a must win qualifying game in Gabon don’t forget and did the same in 2006 qualifying away to Côte d’Ivoire though they did go on to blow it against Egypt. In addition Cameroon are known for being able to claw out of early defecits. Again recall their route to qualifying for South Africa this term and the 2008 Nations Cup when they got humbled 4-2 by Egypt in the opener only to advance all the way to the final. And that was done under the helm of Otto Pfister who I do not not think highly of at all. Cameroon are more then capable of winning the next two matches and advancing and I expect just that to happen.
The next match is on Sunday the 17th against a capable Zambian side. However, there is a considerable gulf in class and Cameroon feasted on the Chipolopolo in the 2008 Nations Cup recording a 5-1 win and that result may be flattering to the Zambians. Could Zambia pull a Gabon on Sunday? Certainly. Will they? No. When Cameroon have their backs to the wall they rise to the occasion. That will prove true on Sunday. After that they will have to deal with the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on the 21st. Normally that fixture would worry me much more than it does at the moment. Tunisia are still clearly ensconced in apathetic form as a result of the despair they suffered in Maputo. Their form at the moment is suspect as even Tunisian fans would concede. One gets the feeling at the moment that Tunisia would rather not be in the Nations Cup at all. Of course, Tunisia do have a long history of playing their best against the other African giants. And that may yet prove the case again.
For now the loss is a setback but the Indomitable Lions will not be panicking, nor will I though the Zambians might as they have felt the wrath of a wounded Lions bunch before and may do so again only two years later.
Here are the highlights of the game:
- Cameroon 2-1 Gabon: Eto’o and Makoun strike ESPN SoccerNet 09/09/09 Cameroon continued to revive their World Cup...
- Le Guen’s Lions ready to roar The former Lyon and Rangers manager has reinvigorated a squad...
- FIFA Le Classement du Groupe A FIFA (PA) Saturday 5 September 2009 - Le classement du...
- Le Cameroun ou le Gabon à la Coupe du monde CAF.com 10/10/09 - Il faudra attendre l’ultime journée pour connaître...
- African Footbal Giants Make Final Bids to Qualify African football giants such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt and Tunisia...
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