By Florence Mafomemeh
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions crush Algeria on their way to FIFA World Cup in Qatar
L’impossible n’est pas Camerounais! – Impossible is not Cameroon! That is the phrase you hear in Cameroon whenever their darling Indomitable Lions pull off such a last-minute offset.
Algeria went from Jubilation to tears. What a nail-biting Stunner! It was a do-or-die playoff. Algeria thought it had booked its place in the 2022 World Cup with a 118th minute equalizer but Cameroon said , not so fast. The celebration was short lived as the relentless Lions fought to the end and shocked them at the 124th minute leaving the entire Algerian nation stunned, distraught, broken and in tears.
An inconsolable Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi after their devastating loss to Cameroon on Tuesday in Algeria.
After Ahmed Touba scored the goal that seemed to clinch qualification for Algeria, players streamed across the field in ecstasy. Fans exploded. Even journalists jumped for joy. Cameras shook as 35,000 at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker celebrated what seemed to be the most dramatic of World Cup qualifying clinchers.
Cameroon won 2-1 in Algeria on Tuesday, with a 120th-minute goal from star forward Karl Toko Ekambi that leveled the aggregate score of the two-game series at 2-2. Algeria had won Cameroon’s home game of the set, 1-0 in Douala, last Friday, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting tied the aggregate at 1-1 in the 22nd minute Tuesday.
With away goals as the first tiebreaker, the series had to go to extra time because each team had one away goal. When Algeria’s Ahmed Touba scored in the 118th minute, it looked like Algeria got the ticket. But Cameroon won a throw-in a moment later that led to the winning goal.
The last minute goal from Karl Toko Ekambi that shattered Algeria’s world cup dream and sent the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roaring to Qatar.
Cameroon joins Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal to make up the five teams to represent the African continent at the World Cup. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane fired Senegal’s winning penalty kick that edged Egypt 3-1 at the end of a tempestuous World Cup playoff second leg in Dakar on Tuesday to win a place for the newly-crowned AFCON champions at the finals in Qatar later this year.
The draw takes place in Qatar’s capital Doha on Friday. That’s when Cameroon and all the other teams that have qualified will know their group stage opponents. Cameroon will be in Pot 4 in Friday’s World Cup draw along with Ghana while the other three African qualifiers – Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia – are all in Pot 3.
Some may be asking, what is ‘the away goals rule?’ The away goals rule is a method of tie breaking in association football and other sports when teams play each other twice, once at each team’s home ground. By the away goals rule, if the total goals scored by each team are equal the team that has scored more goals “away from home” wins.