Cameroon produce stunning comeback against Serbia to keep World Cup knockout round hopes alive
By Christopher Houston
Cameroon were two goals down with 30 minutes to play but managed to hold Serbia to a draw thanks to goals from Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting.
Serbia now face Switzerland on Friday where they will have to win and rely on Brazil to either beat Cameroon or hold them to a draw to be able to progress out of Group G.
Cameroon got off to a shaky start at the Al Janoub stadium after Mitrovic missed two clear cut chances for Serbia inside 20 minutes, hitting the post and dragging his second effort wide.
But the Indomitable Lions held their nerve after being let off twice and punished Serbia’s lack of clinicality as Jean-Charles Castelleto put Cameroon unexpectedly in the lead, being left an easy tap-in from near-post flick-on by N’Koulou after a corner was swung into the box.
But Serbia’s willingness to continue to drive forward and advance higher up the pitch despite being a goal down eventually caught up to Cameroon as they conceded twice in 30 seconds after a lapse in concentration allowed Pavlovic to head in an equalizer from a set piece and then Milinkovic-Savic further punished Song’s men by putting Serbia ahead from a wonderful strike just outside of the box that was driven into the net across goal.
It was delight for Serbia as they went into the tunnels at half-time in the lead. The delight turned to euphoria as Mitrovic finally got his goal against Cameroon after his simple tap-in rounded off a brilliant team goal.
Cameroon looked destined to exit the World Cup in Qatar at the earliest stage but the Indomitable Lions would not lie down and within ten minutes gave themselves a chance as Vincent Aboubakar produced a moment of magic as his stunning lob over Vanja Milinkovic-Savic cut Serbia’s lead to just one goal.
And just 3 minutes later Cameroon found their equalizer Serbia’s lack of concentration at the back meant that Aboubakar and Choupo-Moting could break through their defensive line with Aboubakar squaring the ball across to Choupo-Moting to tuck the ball into the back of the net past a helpless Milinkovic-Savic.
In what was a tale of two halves, it was the same story for each side as calamitous defending and some brilliant attacking play meant that the spoils were shared at the Al Janoub stadium leaving both teams needing a win to qualify for the knockout phase with only one spot for either team up for grabs.
Stojkovic seemed visibly frustrated after full-time, knowing that a victory for Serbia would’ve put them in a great position to qualify for the knockout phase.
"At that stage we had absolute control of the match," Stojkovic told the BBC. "But we were not smart enough to see out the match.
We created a lot of opportunities and scored three goals but couldn't finish it off."
It all goes down to the final games of Group G on Friday to see whether Switzerland, Serbia or Cameroon secure their spot in the next round of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.