Lusail, Qatar, Dec 2 (EFE).- Cameroon on Friday became the first African side to defeat Brazil in a World Cup match, but their 1-0 Group G victory was still not enough to send them into the tournament’s knockout stage.
The winning goal at Lusail Iconic Stadium, in Qatar’s second-biggest city, came on a header by Vincent Aboubakar in second-half stoppage time.
The match was a relatively meaningless one for Brazil, who had already booked their spot in the last 16 and had all but locked up first place in their round-robin group as well prior to kickoff.
Head coach Tite, careful to avoid injury to his biggest stars, made nine changes to the squad that defeated Switzerland on Monday.
Among those getting a chance to shine was 21-year-old Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli, who twice forced Cameroonian net minder Devis Epassy to tip the ball over the bar in the first half – once on a header in the 15th minute and later on a blast from outside the area in stoppage time.
But the West African side had the best chance to score prior to the intermission, when a bouncing header by Bryan Mbeumo in the waning moments of the first half was spectacularly saved by an out-stretched Ederson.
That golden opportunity was the first shot on target allowed by Tite’s men through five halves of action in Qatar.
In the second half, Cameroon remained offensive-minded and nearly scored in the 51st minute when Aboubakar launched an attempt that went barely wide of the post.
Epassy then was up to the task on a series of corners by Brazil, although he was shaken up after one of those set plays when he slammed his back into the post.
The action slowed down midway through the second half but then started heating up as time was winding down.
Aboubakar was in on much of the action down the stretch, starting with a take-down of Martinelli in space in the 79th minute that may have saved a goal but also earned him a yellow card.
Then, near the beginning of nine minutes of stoppage time, the Al Nassr forward headed home a sublime cross by Jerome Ngom Mbekeli that left Ederson frozen.
Aboubakar proceeded to celebrate his goal to the hilt, although his decision to take off his shirt cost him a second yellow card and left Cameroon with 10 men with seven minutes still to play.
Brazil had one last clear opportunity on a shot by Bruno Guimaraes from close range, but the Newcastle United midfielder sent the ball over the bar.
Despite Cameroon’s historic win, it was still not enough to stay in the tournament.
Switzerland, who had defeated the African side 1-0 in the teams’ opening match, secured second place in Group G and a berth in the knockout stage by edging Serbia 3-2 on Friday.
Brazil will next take on South Korea in the round of 16 on Monday, while Switzerland will square off on Tuesday against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. EFE