Cameroon’s AFCON journey threatened to become a cautionary tale of fallen kings, but two late goals in a heart-stopping clash with The Gambia ensured the Indomitable Lions will roar another day. After being stung by a Scorpions strike with barely a minute on the clock, Cameroon staged a dramatic comeback, scoring twice in the final three minutes to snatch victory and a last-16 date with Nigeria.
The five-time champions looked toothless for much of the encounter, their attack lacking the bite expected from a nation with such a glorious footballing pedigree. The Gambia, in contrast, played with the energy and ambition of underdogs on the verge of a giant-killing. Musa Barrow’s 91st-minute strike seemed to have etched their names in AFCON history, sending Bouake Stadium into a frenzy of Gambian joy.
But just as the celebrations reached fever pitch, VAR intervened. The technology, often a contentious figure in the beautiful game, became the Scorpions’ unlikely nemesis. The goal was controversially disallowed for offside, plunging the Gambian bench into despair and turning the tide of the match.
Emboldened by the reprieve, Cameroon finally found their attacking spark. Karl Toko Ekambi, talismanic throughout the tournament, pounced on a defensive error to smash home the equalizer in the 93rd minute. The stadium, stunned into silence moments ago, erupted in a cacophony of Cameroonian jubilation.
Not yet content with just drawing level, the Indomitable Lions pressed for the winner. And in the very last minute of added time, Christopher Wooh, rose to the occasion. His powerful header found the back of the net, sending Cameroon into raptures and leaving The Gambia heartbroken on the cusp of the knockout stages.
Christopher Wooh’s winning header that put Cameroon 🇨🇲 through to the last 16.
What a breathtaking, rollercoaster of a match. End to end stuff. #AFCON2023
— Mimi Fawaz (@MimosaFawaz) January 23, 2024
This dramatic victory carries a multitude of narratives. It’s a testament to Cameroon’s resilience, their refusal to bow down even when staring at elimination. It’s a cautionary tale for The Gambia, who were just a VAR call away from a monumental upset. And it sets the stage for a mouthwatering clash with Nigeria in the next round, a rivalry that promises fireworks and fierce competition.
Cameroon may have stumbled and stuttered to get here, but they’re still alive in the tournament. The scars of this near-defeat may run deep, but the roar of the comeback could just be the catalyst they need to reignite their title ambitions. Whether the Indomitable Lions can overcome Nigeria and reclaim their African throne remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: they’re back from the brink, and their roar is echoing across the continent once again.
- 70th minute Gambia 0-1 Cameroon
- 72th Gambia 1-1 Cameroon
- 85th Gambia 2-1 Cameroon
- 87th Gambia 2-2 Cameroon
- 91th Gambia 2-3 Cameroon