One nil down and down to 10 men against Croatia, things look bleak for Cameroon.
The Indomitable Lions were playing well, even taking the game to Croatia, when Ivica Olic turned home Ivan Perisic’s cross in the 11th minute.
To their credit, Cameroon pressed on and enjoyed a majority of the possession and better chances before Alex Song foolishly got himself sent off in the 40th minute. Now, the lowest ranked side in Group A will look to do the impossible and claw their way back from tournament elimination.
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11′ – The first time Croatia threatened Cameroon, they took the lead. Off the counter, Modric swung the ball out to the right where Drijo Srna found himself in space. The Shakhtar defender wasted no time, whipping in a ball for Mario Mandzukic who went shoulder-to-shoulder with Nicholas Nkoulou. A poor clearance fell to the feet of Ivan Perisic, who crossed hard and low to the far post where Ivica Olic was there for the simple finish.
Other key moments:
16′ – Stephane M’bia cleared a cross high and wide. The ensuing outswinger from Pranjic found Mandzukic, who deflected the ball to Olic standing three yards out but his effort was saved by goalkeeper Charles Itandje and cleared by Eyong Enoh.
40′ – Alex Song sees straight red from the referee after chasing down Mandzukic on a Croatian counter and ripping him down with an elbow punch from behind.
Cameroon – Itandje, Assou-Ekotto, Nkoulou (c), Song, Moukandjo, Aboubakar, Choupo Moting, Chedjou, Mbia, Enoh, Matip
Croatia -Pletikosa, Pranjic, Perisic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Modric, Srna (c), Mandzukic, Olic, Sammir
- Ivan Rakitic/Luka Modric – The center midfield duo of Rakitic are two of the best passers of the game. They’ll need to maintain control and continue pushing their side forward if three points are to be claimd
- Vincent Aboubakar – The Cameroon striker is deputizing for the injured Samuel Eto’o and has shown the danger he poses in the open field. Will need to come up big if he side is to take something from this match.
- Benjamin Moukandjo – Cameroon’s best player in the first half, he’ll need to cover for the loss of Song while still getting forward on his trademark counters.
- Ivica Olic – Did well to score his goal by missed poorly from close range. Needs to capitalize on his opportunities.
Numbers to know:
- 52 – % possession by Cameroon
- 20 – Dangerous attacks by Cameroon as compared to 13 from Croatia
- 7 – Number of attempts on goal each side has registered
Questions for the second half:
- Can Cameroon find a way back in this match? Despite conceding early the Indomitable Lions were playing well before Song was sent off. Can they collect themselves, get orgranized and somehow find a way back into this match?