A final Ivorian corner, a powerful Cameroonian header and the Japoma stadium in Douala exulted like one man! Badly engaged in this group D, since last September 6 and a defeat in Ivory Coast (2-1), the Indomitable Lions managed to access the dams for the 2022 World Cup by dominating in extremis the selection led by Patrice Beaumelle (1-0), on a furious strike from the right of Karl Toko Ekambi (21st). Dropped by Eric Bailly, the OL striker was served by Hongla, who stole the ball from Maxwel Cornet, all in power, before putting a center back of very good quality.
The Cameroonian media promised hell to Ivorian players, but the first period was not daunting, to say the least. Beaumelle opted from the start for a rather dull and defensive 3-4-3, Côte d’Ivoire rather suffered the debates, even if it took André Onana a masterful tap to prevent the Milanese Franck Kessié from score, up close (33rd). Aboubakar and Ngamaleu had the break point (40th and 45th + 1), goalkeeper Gbohouo and Bailly intervened, preserving the suspense, to the chagrin of the 25,000 spectators present.
Ivorians absent from the World Cup as in 2018
Although wait-and-see so far, Côte d’Ivoire has started to let go from the hour mark, and Ajax’s control tower, Sébastien Haller, already a double scorer in the first leg, stood out : a failed ball stroke (64th), a blocked shot (66th) and above all a lobed header that ends up on the crossbar of Onana, not necessarily beaten (71st). The luck of the Ivory Coast had passed, even if the entrants Nicolas Pépé and Ibrahim Sangaré, very daring, tried to put a little madness at the end of the meeting. A strike from the middle of PSV Eindhoven, from the right, ended just next to the Cameroonian cage (86th).
The Lions therefore reach, in pain, the great African upheaval of the month of March. Present at the Brazilian World Cup in 2014 and absent from the Russian edition in 2018, like Côte d’Ivoire moreover, the 2017 African champion can dream of returning to the competition which really made him enter the books of history of football in the last century.