Mulligan in Celebration

The indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Socceroos of Australia played a 1-1 draw in Kazan in their second group match of the ongoing FIFA Confederation Cup in Russia.This was a match both teams needed a win to increase their chances of advancing to the semi-final stage of the competion, the two sides having  lost their opening matches.

Cameroon scored their only of goal of the match through Zambo Anguissa.A pass was floated from Cameroun’s half of the pitch,and Aboubaker and Anguissa raced for the ball that was floating towards Australia’s penalty box,Anguissa got to the ball first and skillfully volleyed it over the head of goal keeper Matthew Ryan into the net. Mark Mulligan beat Fabrice Ndoua from the penalty spot to bring the Socceroos back into the game. 

The first half of the match was a cagey affair for a long spell, with the Cameroonians very active at the flanks where Benjamin Moukandjo and Christian Bassagog operated.They won more free kicks and corner kicks than their opponent but were unable to convert any of them into goals, owning to the solid defending of the Socceroos.

The Socceroos had only one clear goal-scoring chance in the first half.A cross was floated to Mathew Leckie inside Camerounian’s penalty box, the attacking mid-fielder who ply his trade in Bundesliga side Ingolstadt managed to control the ball in the midst of some of his opponent’s defenders but his final shoot flew over the crossbar.

There was not so much cohesiveness in the way the Cameroonians played, though Bassagog and Aboubakar troubled the Socceroos defenders with their lightning pace.This was a rather slow Cameroonian side, lacking skillful mid-fielders to link-up play between attack and defence.

The relatively drab first half appeared to be heading for a scoreless draw when Zambo broke the deadlock with sublime strike.

The second half resumed and the Socceroos took over control of the game; they dominated possession and started breaching the seemingly impregnable defence line of the indomitable Lions.

Aaronn Mooy and Leckie started to control proceeding in the advanced position of the opponent’s half of the pitch.Mooy bossed the mid-field with his interceptions, running in between channels and accurate passes.His movements on and off the ball became a source of trouble to the tiring Camerounian players.

The Socceroos’ positive approach in the second half paid off when Ernest Mabouka senselessly hacked down Alex Gersbach inside the penalty, the penalty that was awarded for the foul on Gersbash led to Australia’s equalizer.

The indomitable Lions forward Vincent Aboubakar wasted so many goal-scoring chances in both halves.Had the Besiktas’ forward converted all the chances that came his way, he would have had five goals to his name.

Tomi Rogic missed a sitter in the early minutes of the second half.

The introduction of Tim Cahill and James Troisi did not sharpen the Socceroos’ attack as expected.The latter gave a good account of himself in their first match against Germany but was unable to put up a similar performance when he was introduced into the game.

The advantage of the video replay became evident when the referee Milorad Mazic signaled  to the VAR when Mabouka’s tackle felled Gerbach inside the penalty box. Unsure whether the tackle merited a penalty kick,he called to the VAR for clarification.The right call was transmitted to him which he implemented.In Pre-VAR monitored matches , referees would use their discretion when they were in doubt about the true calls to make in certain match situations, and this unavoidable error of human judgement remained a contentious area of the highly emotive game of football till FIFA decided to try the system out in the competition.There is a highly probability that FIFA may eventually integrate the system into its games.