FIFA Confederations Cup 2017
Stadion Krestovskyi, St. Petersburg, Russia
Mark Milligan’s second-half penalty salvaged a point for the Asian Champions Australia as their hopes of progressing further in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup were held in the balance, following a 1-1 draw against African Champions Cameroon at the Stadion Krestovskyi in St. Petersburg, in what was their penultimate match in Group B.
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s sublime lob on the stroke of half-time gave the Cameroonians a deserved lead before Milligan’s penalty on the hour-mark, levelled the scores for the Socceroos.
Australia initially started well and went close in the second minute when Robbie Kruse cut-inside to fire an effort at-goal that Fabrice Ondoa saved comfortably.
Five minutes later the African Champions had a good chance when Benjamin Moukandjo’s clever headed pass found Vincent Aboubakar, but the striker fired the ball just wide into the side-netting.
In the 36th minute Cameroon went close when Moukandjo and Aboubakar combined before the former’s first-time strike at-goal was saved well by Matt Ryan.
On the stroke of half-time, the African Champions opened the scoring. Anguissa latched onto Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui’s hopeful cross-field pass before coolly lobbing Ryan, who was yards off his line.
Australia started the second-half in the ascendancy and had a good chance immediately from the restart when Tomi Juric received the ball in the area after Mathew Leckie’s pull-back, but he fired the ball over the bar.
In the 56th minute Cameroon should have doubled their lead when Christian Bassogog pulled the ball back to Aboubakar, who looked set to score, but he somehow fired the ball wide.
The African Champions were made to rue that missed opportunity a minute later when the referee awarded a penalty to the Socceroos after Ernest Mabouka’s needless challenge sent Alex Gersbach tumbling in the area. The Cameroonian managed to get a touch on the ball but went through the Australian, and after consulting with the Video Assistant Referee system, the referee confirmed his initial decision. Milligan stepped up to fire the resulting-penalty home despite Ondoa guessing right.
Four minutes later Cameroon should have taken the lead when Mabouka’s teasing delivery found Aboubakar, but he fired the ball over the bar from close-range.
In the 77th minute Aboubakar had another good opportunity for Cameroon when he latched onto a fine cross from Sébastien Siani but his header cleared the bar.
The result meant that Australia remained third but now moved onto one point, ahead of Cameroon (also on one point) on goal difference. Australia will be hoping that Germany defeat Chile, as they face the South American side next and will need to win against them and hope Germany defeat Cameroon to progress in the tournament. Cameroon will be hoping that Chile defeat Germany, as they face the World Champions next and will need a victory against them and hope Chile defeat Australia.