Cameroon’s AFCON 2023 clash against Gambia last Tuesday, January 22, has garnered extraordinary praise, with Spanish journalist Andres Onrubia Ramos, dubbing it the “best game in the history of football.”
The intense clash became Cameroon’s qualification ticket to the knockout stage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
The five-time AFCON winner faced a critical situation in the group stage, after failing to secure a victory in previous encounters against Guinea and Senegal.
Journalist Andres Onrubia, who was tweeting updates on the game as it played, said at the end of the game, “Gambia goal in the 92nd minute. it is the best game in the history of football. Really, I’m not exaggerating.”
He said the match reflected the “insane” nature of AFCON games.
The game played with high expectations, but the first goal never arrived until the 56th minute, thanks to Cameroonian striker Karl Toko Ekambi.
The 31-year-old, who featured in the 2017 Cup of Nations-winning Cameroon side, showcased his experience by heading in a long through ball.
Gambia, pressing for an equalizer, found success at the 72nd when Ablie Jallow calmly volleyed in from close range.
The match continued at a frantic pace, with both teams eager to secure a victory.
Gambia surprisingly took the lead in the 85th minute through Ebrima Colley, setting off jubilant celebrations.
However, Cameroon swiftly responded just two minutes later when Gambia’s James Gomez accidentally turned a low cross into his own net.
In the final dramatic minutes, Cameroon sought a winner, and defender Christopher Wooh delivered in the 91st minute, heading home from a corner.
The thrilling finish secured Cameroon’s second-place finish in the group behind Senegal, edging out Guinea on goals scored.
Unfortunately, Gambia faced elimination after suffering a third successive loss.
The nail-biting match didn’t conclude without more drama, as Cameroon momentarily appeared to concede an equalizer in stoppage time.
However, the VAR revealed that Gambia’s Muhammed Sanneh had used his hand to direct the ball into the net, and the goal was cancelled.
Cameroon this secured their second-place finish in Group C, and earned a ticket out of the group stage.
The Indomitable Lions are now set for a challenging fixture against Nigeria 16, scheduled for Saturday.
Football enthusiasts and analysts alike are hailing the Cameroon-Gambia clash as an epic encounter, further adding to the excitement and unpredictability of AFCON 2023.