Cameroon recover from shock Ethiopia opener to seal round of 16 spot

By Beng Emmanuel

Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi both scored a brace as host Cameroon had to come from behind to comfortably beat Ethiopia 4-1 and become the first nation to qualify for the knock-out stage of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. 

The host were shocked by the Dawa Hotessa opener but a brace from both Ekambi and captain Aboubakar-now on four goals in two games- wrapped-up an emphatic win at the Olembe Sport Complex. 

It was a tricky start for the 5-time African champions who were shaky in the beginning. Ethiopia dominated play in the first half with supreme composure and were ruthless when presented with even a hint of a chance. 

The Walias took a shock lead when Dawa Hotessa calmly slotted the opener past a helpless Andre Onana 4 minutes into the game. But their celebrations didn’t last for long as the host responded instantly when Toko Ekambi headed home from Fai Collins’ exquisite cross on 8th minute. 

Ethiopia had numerous opportunities to restore their lead but failed to convert. There were attempts from Amanuel Gebremikael and Abubekar Nasser all wasted. 

Dawa Hotessa had a chance to score his second goal of the day but failed to smash home from a follow-up strike after Onana made a fantastic save to deny Suleman Hamid. The Ajax keeper was brought again into action when he palmed out Surafel Dagnachew’s long range effort. . 

Cameroon’s best moments came from Karl Toko Ekambi whose header came off the post. But he made no mistakes in the second half when he curled in a fine finish for a brace. 

His Captain Vincent Aboubakar had put the team ahead by scoring two goals in two minutes to stage another spectacular comeback after their first success against Burkina Faso. The 2017 Afcon winner first headed home from another Fai Collins assist and then tapped-in from Nicolas Ngamaleu invited cross.

It is the first time since 2006 that Cameroon has won back-to-back matches at the Africa Cup of Nations. They continue to lead group A of the Nations Cup and face Cape Verde in the final game before turning their attention to the round of 16. 

Another fight back for the Indomitable Lions 

Cameroon made three changes to the team that beat Burkina Faso in their first game. Coach Antonio Conceicao brought in Bayern Munich star Choupo-Moting, Martin Hongla and Jean-Charles Castelletto who made his Afcon debut. 

The Indomitable Lions overcame a ropey start and showed great steel and resistance to come back into the game. They went behind when Ethiopia exploited the pocket of space in their defence to silence the fans at the Olembe Stadium with the opening goal but deservedly won the game. 

They would have scored more goals but Fai Collins, Zambo Anguissa, and Martin Hongla failed to hit the back of the target. 

Cameroon maintain their perfect start to the 24-nations tournament. After being the lone nation to score more than once in the first round, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon have also become the first team to score four times in one game and win consecutive matches. 

They are also the first host nation to score four goals in one game since Angola in 2010. 

Ethiopia Resurgence not enough 

There was a shape contrast between the Ethiopian side that lost to Cape Verde and the team that faced Cameroon. Their form was impressive although they let their guard down in the second half.  

They produced a first half performance brimming with pace, precision and energy although they were often marred by their defensive weaknesses. They were also unlucky in front of goal and any attempt to steal a point shattered. 

Ethiopia woefully failed to get a famous win against Cameroon.  They have suffered two straight defeats in the tournament. Their next game is against Burkina Faso with hopes of claiming their first win. 

FULL SCORE 

Cameroon 4-1 Ethiopia 

[Ekambi 8’67, Aboubakar 53’, 55’/ Dawa 1’]

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