Footy Times

Cameroon Roar Back to Draw Serbia 3-3

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Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar came off the substitute to score one goal and assist on another as the Indomitable Lions salvaged a crucial point in a 3-3 draw with Serbia on Monday, ending the African side’s streak of eight consecutive World Cup losses.

The tumultuous Group G match left both teams with a single point from their two games, still in contention for a spot in the round of 16, although Cameroon must face Brazil in their next match on Friday and Serbia must face Switzerland.

After squandering a 3-1 lead, Serbia’s coach, Dragan Stojkovic, equated it to losing two points. But for Cameroon, whose World Cup fortunes have improved since 2002, it breathes new life into their campaign.

“In these competitions you have to show desire for victory,” Aboubakar said. “My teammates played a great first half despite some small mistakes. We felt they (Serbia) were shaky and a bit tired. When I came on, I tried to make the most of it.

“What matters is the mindset and the collective spirit, and in that regard we played a great game.”

Andre Onana, Cameroon’s first-choice goalkeeper, requested to quit the team, according to coach Rigobert Song, after rumours that the two had a disagreement over tactics.

“He is an important player but we are in a difficult tournament,” Song said. “I know what I have to do, and that is to ensure that the team takes precedence over any individuals. Andre wanted to step out (of the squad) and we accepted that position. In a squad, discipline is important.”

Serbia was the team that began the contest in the better position. Alexander Mitrovic hit the post as his deft footwork generated a tight-angle shot opportunity.

When Cameroon mishandled clearing their lines, the ball fell to him eight yards from the goal with the goal at his mercy, but he missed the target.

Then, Cameroon seized the lead on a set piece. Jean-Charles Castelletto finished off Nicolas N’Koulou’s cross with a back-post tap-in.

They never looked comfortable in defence, and Serbia equalised in first-half injury time. Strahinja Pavlovic rose highest to put the ball into the corner of the net after Dusan Tadic floated a free kick into the box.

They took the lead two minutes later when the Cameroonian defence enabled Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to pick his location on the edge of the box and direct the ball into the net.

Mitrovic started and executed a stunning goal for Serbia in the third minute. After a series of passes inside the penalty box, the ball was squared by Andrija Zivkovic, and the big number nine had a straightforward tap-in for his eighth goal in his past six appearances.


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