Cameroon Produces Dramatic Winner With Last Kick Of The Match To Advance

Cameroon almost knocked itself out with a horrific own goal, but a last-second winner secured passage to the knockout stage.

With a victory over New Zealand on Thursday afternoon, Cameroon would secure passage to the Round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup. They got there with the last kick of the match — Ajara Nchout’s improbable winner lifted her nation to a 2-1 victory after a calamitous 80th-minute own goal had threatened to ruin it all.  

With both sides needing three points to have any chance of finishing as one of the four best third-place teams, the opening 45 minutes were played with fantastic energy but with little quality in the final third. However, New Zealand’s Erin Nayler was easily the game’s busier keeper, including an early save to deny Gabrielle Onguene when she was played clean through on goal.   

But it only looked a matter of time for the African side, and the opener arrived in the 57th-minute through Nchout.

In the 64th minute, Cameroon should’ve put things away. However, Nayler pulled off an amazing triple-save to keep the score at 1-0.  

Nayler’s incredible goalkeeping was a harbinger of worse things to come from a Cameroon perspective. The Football Ferns looked totally incapable of creating a goalscoring opportunity — let alone actually putting the ball into the net — but in the 80th minute, Aurelle Awona did it for them.

As the clocked moved deep into second half stoppage time, Cameroon’s World Cup journey appeared to be at a crushing end. But up stepped Nchout with the last kick of the match. 

And what a goal it was — she cut inside, cut outside, diced her defender and curled an effort just inside the far post. 

Cameroon advances to the Round of 16 for the second straight tournament, while New Zealand has now played 15 World Cup matches without having won one. The Football Ferns have an all time record of 0 wins, 3 draws and 12 defeats. Ouch.

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