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SportsCameroon seal convincing win against Cape Verde as Onana saves penalty

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Cameroon seal convincing win against Cape Verde as Onana saves penalty

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Vincent Aboubakar scored twice and Andre Onana saved a last-minute penalty as Cameroon secured a convincing 4-1 victory over Cape Verde in Marc Brys’ debut match as head coach of the Indomitable Lions.

Brys’ appointment in April had sparked controversy between the Cameroonian football federation (Fecafoot) and the Ministry of Sport. However, the Belgian coach’s first foray into international management was smooth and successful.

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Cape Verde, which had reached the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year—one round further than Cameroon—struggled in this match, particularly with defending set-pieces.

The result was sealed in Yaoundé when Onana saved Kevin Pina’s penalty in the 94th minute. The Manchester United goalkeeper then was fouled by Gilson Benchimol as he attempted to secure the loose ball.

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This victory propelled Cameroon to the top of Group D in the African qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, tied with Libya on seven points but ahead on goal difference after three games. Africa will have nine representatives at the expanded 2026 World Cup, with each group winner securing a spot in the tournament hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Cameroon had a shaky start but took the lead in the 13th minute when an unmarked Michael Ngadeu headed in Moumi Ngamaleu’s corner. Aboubakar doubled the advantage 12 minutes later, hooking in Ngamaleu’s cross following a short corner on the right side.

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Cape Verde reduced the deficit eight minutes before halftime when Jamiro Monteiro slotted Bebe’s through ball past the advancing Onana. However, Cameroon restored their two-goal cushion just before halftime. Ngamaleu, once again instrumental, was brought down by Deroy Duarte, allowing captain Aboubakar to convert the penalty with precision.

Cameroon extended their lead to 4-1 nine minutes into the second half when Nouhou Tolo outmuscled center-back Roberto Lopes to head home from another short corner.

In other qualifying action on Saturday, The Gambia registered their first Group F victory with a 5-1 thrashing of Seychelles in Morocco. Northern Irish coach Johnny McKinstry oversaw his first match in charge of the Scorpions, with the game level at halftime after Ryan Henriette equalized Mohamed Badamosi’s opener. Musa Barrow’s penalty restored the lead, and Badamosi scored again, followed by goals from Yankuba Minteh and St Johnstone forward Adama Sidibeh to secure a comfortable win for The Gambia.

The fourth round of qualifying matches is set to take place between Sunday and Tuesday.

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