Confederations Cup: Indomitable Lions pay the penalty against Australia

Confederations Cup: Indomitable Lions pay the penalty against Australia
Cameroon's defender Collins Fai vies for the ball with Australia's Mathew Leckie during their Confederations Cup match. (AFP)

Moscow - Cameroon took the lead in first-half stoppage time


Published: Thu 22 Jun 2017, 11:19 PM

Last updated: Sat 24 Jun 2017, 12:22 AM

Cameroon and Australia drew 1-1 on Thursday in a physical game that left both teams facing early exits from the Confederations Cup. 
The result extends a winless run at Fifa tournaments for two teams that each lost their opening game in Russia and all three matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 
Cameroon took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa deftly flicked the ball over advancing Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan after running on to a lofted long pass. 
The goal was loudly cheered by Russian fans who led chants of Cam-ay-roon in the second half trying to help lift the African champions to victory. Australia captain Mark Milligan leveled the score from the penalty spot in the 60th minute.  The decision to penalise a trip on wing-back Alex Gersbach was confirmed by a video review shown on the stadium screens. 
Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar spurned three clear chances in the second half. 
The favourites to advance from Group B, Germany and Chile, play later on Thursday in Kazan. 
Cameroon face Germany in the final group game on Sunday, when Australia play Chile.
 In the second on Wednesday night, striker Oribe Peralta hit Mexico's winner in their 2-1 comeback victory over New Zealand on Wednesdayto leave them on the verge of semifinals.
After Leeds United striker Chris Wood gave the All Whites a shock first-half lead, second-half goals by Benfica's Raul Jimenez and Peralta sealed the win.
The result in Sochi saw Mexico leapfrog Portugal, who earlier beat Russia 1-0 in Moscow, into top spot in Group A by the slenderest of margins on goals scored.
Juan Carlos Osorio's side now just need a draw against Russia in Kazan on Saturday to be sure of reaching the semifinals, but New Zealand are bottom of the group and out of the tournament.
New Zealand's superb first-half display rattled Mexico and a tense match boiled over with a mass brawl in the dying stages.
Osario said the match turned when Porto midfielder Hector Herrera came on for the second half and Mexico's attacks started to flow. "We improved greatly when Hector came in and we have to see what happens now against Russia," said Osorio. 
"I am proud of what my team did, it's normal to have to suffer at this level, but we deserved to win.
"We know how to adapt to different opponents."
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson had vowed they would bounce back after Saturday's opening 2-0 defeat by Russia and his team were true to his word.
"Everyone is incredibly disappointed in the changing room and we feel we should have got more," said Hudson. 
"It was an incredible first-half performance from us.
"The first 10 minutes after the break, we gave them too much space and time on the ball."
Wood's superb strike was New Zealand's first goal in four matches and only the third time they have scored at a Confederations Cup in four campaigns.
With star striker Javier Hernandez on the bench, Mexico's three-man attack of Peralta, Jimenez and Juergen Damm struggled to make an impact early on.
There was also no place for promising winger Hirving Lozano, 21, who signed a six-year contract for PSV Eindhoven on Monday.
Mexico lost Carlos Salcedo on 33 minutes when the defender was stretchered off with a shoulder injury after coming second-best in a tussle with Wood. 
The New Zealand forward had the best of the early chances when he twice forced Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera into saves.
The Oceania champions took a shock lead when Clayton Lewis threaded his pass between two defenders to Wood, who coolly fired home on 42 minutes.
With the Kiwis' tails up, Wood could have grabbed a second when he again got in behind the defence, but failed to control the ball as they took a one-goal lead into the break. After Herrera's introduction, Javier Aquino forced New Zealand keeper Stefan Marinovic into a left-handed save, before Giovani dos Santos fired over.
At the other end, Wood squandered a one-on-one with Talavera and moments later Mexico were level.
Aquino broke down the left flank and passed to Marco Fabian, who squared for forward Jimenez to fire home.
Peralta hit the winner in the 72nd minute when Aquino pulled the ball back for the 33-year-old to find the net.
But the Kiwis kept battling and with Mexico allowing them plenty of space to attack, midfielder Ryan Thomas clattered the woodwork with five minutes to go.
New Zealand defender Tommy Smith then cleared Jimenez's shot off the line in the dying stages, just before a mass brawl broke out after Herrera clashed with Thomas.
Referee Bakary Gassama consulted the video assistant referee and Herrera was booked after a delay of over four minutes. 

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