Cameroon made a winning start to their Total Africa U-20 Cup of Nations when beating the hosts Mauritania 1-0 in an entertaining encounter at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Sunday night.
Junior Sunday Jang scored the all-important goal for the young lions of Cameroon who are making their tenth appearance at the biennial tournament.
Coach Ousmanou Bonaventure’s side had to dig deep to secure the points against the junior Mourabitounes who were making their debut in the tournament.
The dominated most parts of the match but failed to make it count against lions who were happy to defend in numbers and protect their goal.
Mauritania showed intent from the first whistle with Silly Sangareh the architect of their moves down the left channel.
The tricky winger had the first sniff at goal after 11 minutes, regaining possession just inside the Cameroon half, skipping away from a couple of challenges before his effort was blocked.
The Lions upped the ante midway through the first half with Alioum Moubarak causing mayhem on the right flank with speed.
Buoyed by the classy opening ceremony the hosts came close twice through Oumar Mbareck and Adama Diop but either troubled the keeper.
Oumar who wore the famous number 10 found space on the right cutting inside but his left footed effort failed to hit the target. Diop combined with Youssef War in a swift counter attack which exposed the Cameroon defence but the Lions recovered to clear their from Youssef’s cut back.
Cameroon started the second half with more purpose and came close to breaking the deadlock just after restart. Alioum Moubarak’s cross from the right was just about gathered by Mohamed in the Mauritania goal while Sunday Junior was lucking behind.
The two sides continued to cancel each other in the middle of the whiles trying to break on the counter attack.
Silly Sangare beat two Cameroonian defenders on the left channel after the hour mark; his delightful cross into the area was hastily dealt by Cameroon’s captain Meyapya Fongain who marshalled the defence.
Sunday Junior settled the match nine minutes from when he latched on to Abou Diallo’s weak back pass, running the onrushing keeper before poking the ball into an unguarded goal to hand Cameroon the best possible start to the tournament.
What they said:
Man of the match Oumar Mbareck, Mauritania:
It’s a shame that we lost the first match but I am sure we will do better in the next match. We did some mistakes in the second half and that is where Cameroon punished us from. We played very well abut we could not win and I apologize to the people for this. I believe we are a good team and we will have to work hard and do better in the second match.
Mauritania coach Muril Njoya:
We regret some decisions we took overall we had a good match but Cameroon better than them because they have talent and experienced, they lost the fight but we did not lsoe the war, the Cameroonians h=are more experienced, we will work harder, we have a young team have a chance to do better next time have faith in whta
Cameroon coach Ousmanou Christophe:
It was a very tough match because Mauritania showed that they are a good and talented team. I think for us our goalkeeper saved us especially in the last minutes of the game to ensure that we maintain the lead and win. It is good to start this way now we have improved confidence.