Choupo-Moting caps Cameroon’s World Cup comeback

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By Creative Media News

Chaos. Two teams with a history of instability. A Serbian team is in disarray due to injury. The dismissal of Internazionale goalkeeper André Onana destabilized the Cameroon national squad.

The inevitable result was a match of extreme disorder. But what mayhem! It was pandemonium that yielded drama, great goals, an improbable comeback, a truly exceptional ending that will be remembered long after the match is forgotten, and, in the end, a thrilling draw that neither side particularly desired.

Monday’s events in Al Janoub were not devoid of complications; not the traffic, the security, or the buildup. In a resemblance to the golden heyday of the Invincible Lions, Onana was expelled from the Cameroon team the morning of the game, ostensibly because he refused to coach Rigobert Song’s instruction to stop passing out from the back.

Choupo-moting caps cameroon's world cup comeback
Choupo-moting caps cameroon's world cup comeback

In Cameroon’s opening match, a 1-0 loss to Switzerland, Onana had more touches beyond the penalty area than any other goalkeeper in World Cup history.

Song stated, “The position of goalkeeper is crucial, and he is a crucial player as well.” “However, you are aware that we are competing in a difficult tournament, and I am aware of what I must do to ensure that the team takes precedence over any individual.

We agreed with André’s decision to leave. Today, [Devis] Epassy was in goal, and he showed that he is also a very capable goalkeeper and a competitor to André.”

Later, though, Song made it obvious that Onana was not leaving voluntarily. “In a squad, discipline is essential,” he remarked. “If you can’t fit in with that discipline, with what is required to be a part of a squad, then I believe you must accept responsibility because the squad’s interests are more important than your own.

Thwarts serbia to cap cameroons wild
Choupo-moting caps cameroon's world cup comeback

“For the time being, we must focus on the players that desire to be a part of the team and are proud to wear the jersey. I am a father figure to these youngsters and am accountable for them.”

Cameroon is all too acquainted with this type of problem. On the opening day of Italia 90, Joseph-Antoine Bell was dropped as punishment for an indiscreet interview – so late that the wife of his replacement Thomas N’Kono, who had gone shopping in Milan rather than watch her husband sit on the bench against Argentina, didn’t find out until that evening that he had played in Cameroon’s greatest victory until then.

Then in 1994, during Song’s first World Cup, there were so many goalkeeper incidents that N’Kono, Bell, and the third choice, Jacques Songo’o, each played one game in the group stage.

Nonetheless, before all the upheaval, this had all the signs of a typical Serbian collapse. After a promising start in which Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the post and fired just wide, they fell in the 29th minute when Jean-Charles Castelletto tapped in Nicolas Nkoulou’s near-post flick-on.

Two goals in first-half stoppage time, the first a strong header from Strahinja Pavlovic and the second a drive from the edge of the box by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic that slid through Epassy’s hand, swung the game in favor of Serbia. And when Mitrovic scored, having squandered another opportunity, it appeared that the rumors that Dragan Stojkovic has created a new, mentally resilient Serbia may be true.

It’s not so. Vincent Aboubakar, the top scorer at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, joined Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to change the tide of the game once more. Aboubakar stated, “We realized that they were incredibly tall yet exhausting.” When I entered the field, I attempted to evade the final defender, making it difficult for them to track me.

It was reminiscent of Karel Poborsky’s goal against Portugal at Euro 96. Then, after leading another counterattack along the right flank, Aboubakar set up Choupo-Moting to level the score.

Stojkovic, after lamenting the injuries to Dusan Vlahovic and Luka Jovic, which have hampered his preparation, attributed the loss of the lead to “two enormous errors.” “It is quite risky to press high when the opponent has possession of the ball,” he warned. “Completely superfluous.”

Song, however, argued that dismissing Onana had focused minds and energized his team, giving the fuel for a comeback that halted a streak of eight consecutive World Cup losses.

There was much talk about a tie that seemed like a win, but the reality is that a draw makes it difficult for both teams to advance, notwithstanding Stojkovic’s hopeful comments about overcoming Switzerland in Serbia’s final game.

In the end, glorious chaos is still chaos.

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