AWCON 2018: Cameroun go top of Group A

BY: Kweku Zurek
AWCON 2018: Cameroun go top of Group A

Three-time finalist Cameroun moved to the summit of Group A on goals scored after they came from behind to defeat Mali 2-1 in the ongoing Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

All three goals were scored in the second half of the game after an entertaining first half.

Cameroun were on the ascendancy after recess but were stunned in the 52nd minute on the break when winger Fatoumata Diarra skillfully allowed a pass to run between her legs and past her Cameroonian marker before racing after it and playing in Aissata Traore who scored, with goalie Ngo Ndom rushing towards her.

The Camerounian's did not change their tactics and continued to lay siege on the Malian goal but were let down by poor finishing.

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The Indomitable Lionesses finally drew level in the 67th from a scrappy effort by defender Meffoumetou Tcheno Claudine. Claudine left unmarked from a corner saw her header blocked by a defender but the attempt to clear the ball deflected off her into the net despite the best efforts of Malian goalie Adoudou Konate.

Nchout Njoya scored the second goal from close range after latching onto a pass from Marlyse Ngo Mbeleck.

Cameroun had many opportunities to make the scoreline more definite but could not find a way past an impressive Konate in goal for the Malians.

Cameroun coach Joseph Brian Nkodo in a post-match interview said he was confident that his side would win the match even after they had conceded the first goal.

"We are happy with the scoreline because it wasn’t an easy game. Mali is a good side and we knew before the game that it was going to be tough. When we conceded the goal against the run of play, we still knew that we had something in it and we pressed and managed to get both the equaliser and the match winner," he said.

Coach Nkodo added that he was expecting no easy games during the tournament and was looking forward to a similar encounter when they engage Algeria tomorrow.

"We play our next game on Tuesday against Algeria, a team that lost to Ghana. It will be another tough game and we are looking forward to it. I want to commend my girls for exhibiting a fighting spirit throughout the game and that is how we want to be known throughout the tournament,” he added.

His opposite number, Houssein Saloum, said his team lost the game in five minutes of the match when they lost concentration.

"We lost concentration and Cameroun got the equaliser and another goal within five minutes. We regrouped and fought to reclaim at least a point, but that did not happen. We have to work on our mistakes before we meet host nation Ghana on Tuesday," he stated.

He added that he was also anticipating a difficult clash against Ghana tomorrow but would devise a strategy to win that game.

"The game against Ghana will not be easy as they are the hosts, but we will map out a strategy in training and work hard to get a win in our next game," he said.