From defeat to victory in just a few minutes, from virtual elimination to hope. Cameroon and Serbia experienced a roller coaster of emotions that ended in a point of faith, a draw (3-3) that gave them a thread of life on the last day of the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar. Pressure, anguish and fear were traveling companions for both teams on the pitch of the Al Yanub stadium, where the game went through different phases. The Africans advanced when they least deserved it, the Serbs came back in the added time of the first half and the 'indomitable lions' got up from the canvas after the hour of play, with a great Aboubakar, to put the final draw in just two minutes of outburst
In addition to the game, the tension in the locker room led by Rigobert Song had already come from before, the starting goalkeeper Onana being expelled from the concentration due to discrepancies with the coach. Perhaps that is why the Africans started the game nervous, the Balkans more orderly. Mitrovic was the first to test a Cameroonian defense prone to big errors. The forward made a great wall with Tadic, sat down N'Koulou and fired at the post. The one from Fulham did not take advantage of the comic play of the game either. N'Koulou cleared, bounced off Castelletto's face and Tolo's defective rebound fell into Mitrovic's boots, who shot wide with everything in his favor.
The Cameroonians were only capable of disturbing their rival in isolated plays, in bursts that used to end imprecisely. Only Kunde made the Serbian goalkeeper intervene in the initial stretch. However, when the goal of Stojković's team seemed closest, Cameroon's goal came from a corner 'gifted' by Serbia that N'Koulou finished off at the near post and holed out at the second Castelletto.
The favorable score gave way to the minutes of more domination of the Africans, a mirage that vanished on the brink of half-time. Tadic took a vertical free kick and Pavlovic, 1.94 meters tall, headed into the net. The Europeans took advantage of the wave and Cameroon fell apart, locked in their area and crying out for the intermission. Milikonvic Savic smelled the fragility of the rival and, after poor control by Anguissa, he beat Epassy's stretch with a low shot.
After the restart, Serbia continued their good feelings against an opponent in a grip, without an answer, who again fell prey to their mistakes in the third goal conceded. The Balkans stole the ball and played as they pleased in the transition with a Cameroonian defense out of place, unable to set the mark. Finally Zivkovic assisted a Mitrovic who finished off at will.
Everything seemed lost for Song's men until Aboubakar entered, a shock that woke up his team and uncovered the embarrassment of a Serbia that did not know how to handle the advantage. The striker caught the back of the defense and beat the goalie with a big chip. The VAR certified the goal, on the limit of offside, and spurred on a Cameroon who achieved equality in the next play, in the 66th minute, after hunting the Balkans again on the counterattack. This time Aboubakar assisted Choupo-Moting with a lateral cross from the right.
The mix of emotions, euphoria for the Africans and disappointment for the Europeans, led to a crazy final stretch, with constant arrivals in the area and with the midfield as a passing zone. Mitrovic, in a shot in the area and in a one-on-one, was able to decide the duel, but the tie did not budge and forces the two teams to win their last game to have options, Serbia against Switzerland and Cameroon against the fearsome Brazil .
Cameroon: Epassy; Fai, Castelletto, N’Koulou, Tolo; Kunde (Ondoua, m.67), Hongla (Aboubakar, m.55), Anguissa (Oum Gouet, m.81); There is a sword (N'Koudou, m.81), Choupo Moting, and Toko Lead (Bassogog, m.67).
Serbia: V.Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, Pavlovic (Stefan Mitrovic, m.56), Veljkovic (Babic, m.78); Zivkovic (Radonjic, m.78), Maksimovic, S.Milinkovic-Savic (Grujic, m.78), Lukic, Kostic (Djuricic, m.90 2); Tadic; y Mitrovic.
Goals: 1-0, m.29: Castelletto; 1-1, m.45 1: Pavlovic; 1-2, m.45 3: S. Milinkovic-Savic; 1-3, m.53: A. Mitrovic; 2-3, m.64: Abubakar. 3-3, m.64: Choupo-Moting.
Referee: Abdulla Mohammed (United Arab Emirates). He admonished N'Koulou (m.24) and Bassogog (m.30, off the field) in Cameroon. On the part of Serbia, Jovic (m.45 9, off the field) and Milenkovic (m.90 4) received yellow cards.
Incidents: match corresponding to the second day of Group G of Qatar 2022 played at the Al Yanoub stadium.