Algeria clinched a crucial victory to take a big step toward World Cup qualification.
Algeria defeated Cameroon 1-0 in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying tie on Friday. The Fennecs will have the upper hand in their upcoming home game, while Cameroon must find a way to come back from behind.
Smash and grab scenario at Douala Stadium!
Both teams came into the game on the back of their Africa Cup of Nations setbacks. Cameroon had a relatively better campaign than Algeria, but a penalty defeat against Egypt prevented them from reaching the final.
The Indomitable Lions started the game by creating a few half-chances in the first 20 minutes. However, they were too cautious to successfully surprise Algeria’s rock-solid defence.
The Fennecs then gradually found their feet at Douala Stadium and looked more and more dangerous on the counter-attacks. They finally got what they were looking for when Islam Slimani scored a brilliant header to convert Youcef Belaili’s perfect cross.
Having conceded the opener five minutes before the interval, Cameroon immediately started their efforts to get back into the game. They dominated the possession throughout the second period while creating constant pressure on Algeria’s backline.
However, the guests managed to keep their defensive integrity as they made it harder and harder for their opponents to build momentum. The referee added 11 minutes of injury time, but the Fennecs continued to outmuscle Cameroon’s attackers until the final whistle.
What’s next for Algeria and Cameroon?
The precious 1-0 win will provide Algeria with a significant advantage ahead of the second leg. Riyad Mahrez and co will play the next game on home soil while Cameroon must fight an uphill battle to secure a place in the World Cup.
The two sides will meet again in Bilda for the second leg, which takes place on Tuesday.
Cameroon: A. Onana (6), Fai (5), Castelletto (6), Ngadeu (6), Tolo (7), J. Onana (7), Hongla (5), Oum Gouet (7), Toko Ekambi (6), Aboubakar (5), Choupo-Moting (6).
Bench: Ondoua (5), Soni (6), Tawamba (7).
Algeria: M’Bolhi (8), Benayada (6), Mandi (7), Benlamri (7), Bensebaini (7), Bennacer (6), Zerrouki (7), Mahrez (6), Belaili (8), Bedrane (6), Slimani (8).
Bench: Tahrat (6), Guedioura (6), Bendebka (6), Feghouli (6), Belfodil (6).