Sports, Football

Cameroon into AFCON quarters despite Comoros heroics, Gambia win

Published : 25 Jan 2022 07:54 PM

Hosts Cameroon set up an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Gambia but only after labouring to a 2-1 win over a Comoros side who were forced to start an outfield player in goal and played most of Monday's game with 10 men.

Left-back Chaker Alhadhur started between the posts for the Comoros in Yaounde after two of their three goalkeepers were ruled out due to Covid-19 while the other was missing due to injury.

They then had captain Nadjim Abdou sent off after just seven minutes, and Karl Toko-Ekambi put Cameroon in front before skipper Vincent Aboubakar netted his sixth goal of the tournament.

Despite that it was a heroic performance from the Comoros, who kept the last-16 tie alive until the end thanks to Youssouf M'Changama's stunning late free-kick.

"I don't think I am the only hero. I did what I could. I think I gave hope to the team and they all tried to help me," Alhadhur, usually a back-up left-back for French Ligue 2 side Ajaccio, told broadcaster Canal Plus.

He had to use tape to mark out his number three on the back of his goalkeeper's jersey.

Of being chosen to go in goal he added: "It was something that at first we spoke a bit about and laughed about, but then it became serious.

"I was chosen but I didn't believe it until I put on the gloves and the top. Then I realised it was serious. There were lots of emotions going through my head but then I just got on with it."

The tiny Indian Ocean island nation qualified for the last 16 in their first ever appearance at the Cup of Nations after finishing as one of the best third-placed teams in the group stage.