Morocco 1–1 Cameroon (2-4 pens): Eto’o scores and Indomitable Lions lift LG Cup trophy
Second half strikes from Samuel Eto’o and Nordin Amrabat set up a penalty kick session that Cameroon ended up winning 4-2. The win allowed the west Africans to lift the LG Cup trophy in Marrakech and also continued an impressive run of never having lost to Morocco in their history.
After seeing his players surprisingly fail in the opener against Uganda, Eric Gerets made some changes to his side, most notably replacing Taarabt with Oussama Assaidi on the wing and Youssef El Arabi with Youssouf Hadji in attack.
Meanwhile, Indomitable Lions coach Denis Lavagne gave goalkeeper Ndy Assembe a rare start ahead of Carlos Kameni and replaced Choupo-Moting with Vincent Aboubakar.
The north Africans kicked off proceedings, dominating possession in the early going. Despite their pressure, the first true goal-scoring chance of the game fell to Henri Bienvenue on 22 minutes, forcing a fine save from Atlas Lions goalkeeper Mohamed Amsif.
Morocco continued to push for the opener, primarily through Assaidi’s left flank. However, on one of the rare instances where they attacked from the right side, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez and Hadji combined to good effect yet the Anzhi Makhachkala representative pulled his shot wide.
Two minutes later, the Cameroon responded through a zigzagging Aboubakar run that culminated in Bienvenue blasting an effort that was once again expertly parried by Morocco’s Amsif.
The second half began much as the first did and the additions of Mbark Boussoufa, Amrabat, and Taarabt gave the north Africans more incisiveness up front. However, the final touch continued to elude them.
In a similar scenario to their previous encounter against Uganda, the Atlas Lions were stunned in minute 72. The finish came from none other than Eto’o who dispatched a left footed strike with typical ruthlessness.
It took some time for the hosts to recover but they eventually got on the score-sheet when Boussoufa found a wide-open Amrabat in the penalty area. The 24-year-old maintained his composure to score his first international goal in Moroccan colors. The equaliser set up a furious finish to the match, with both teams missing chances on either end, sending the game directly into a penalty shootout, per LG Cup rules.
The penalty kick session ended 4-2 in Cameroon’s favour after Taarabt hit the post and Amrabat had his attempt saved. The win marks a successful start to the Lavagne era while Gerets will surely be looking forward to the return of Mehdi Benatia and Abdelhamid El Kaoutari after his side’s defensive lapses during this competition.