MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, January 24 – Cameroon and Guinea shared the spoils on Saturday night in the fourth 1-1 draw in as many matches in Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Estadio de Malabo.
Benjamin Moukandjo scored direct from a corner to give the fancied Indomitable Lions a 13th-minute lead in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, but an outstanding strike by Ibrahima Traore three minutes prior to the interval restored parity.
With both opening matches in the section ending 1-1 and the Ivory Coast coming from behind to hold Mali by the same score earlier on Saturday in the first of a Malabo double-header, Group D remains absolutely even ahead of the final games on Wednesday.
Volker Finke’s Cameroon, who welcomed back skipper Stephane Mbia after suspension kept him out of their draw against Mali, came flying out of the blocks as they looked to stamp their authority on the game.
Naby Yattara came to the rescue for the Syli Nationale with a vital save to keep out Vincent Aboubakar’s shot from Henri Bedimo’s low cross in the 10th minute, and Cameroon were ahead shortly after.
Aurelien Chedjou tried to get a touch at the near post to Moukandjo’s corner from the right, but the ball flew past him and goalkeeper Yattara could only help it on its way into the net.
It was a just reward for Cameroon’s excellent start, but Guinea, impressive against the Ivorians in their last outing, slowly began to push forward and Traore was denied by Fabrice Onoda after ghosting into the area 10 minutes before the break.
Better was to come from the diminutive Borussia Moenchengladbach star as he equalised on 42 minutes, his snapshot on the turn from the edge of the box wide on the left arrowing low into the far corner of Ondoa’s net.
Guinea were then dealt a blow right at the end of the first half as their robust central defender Florentin Pogba — brother of France star Paul — was stretchered off with an apparent groin problem.
Coach Michel Dussuyer was forced to reshuffle his defence as a result for the second half, although it was Traore who almost netted again at the other end, his cross from the right nearly dropping in at the far post.
The chances continued to come, with Aboubakar just unable to connect properly with another Bedimo cross for Cameroon before substitute Naby Keita drove a shot just over after being teed up by Ibrahima Conte for the supposed outsiders of the group.
With a minute remaining, the unmarked Mbia somehow contrived to head a free-kick wide from point-blank range, leaving everything to be decided in four days time.