Hosts Cameroon reached the semi-final of the TOTAL African Nations Championship (CHAN) when beating two-time winners DR Congo 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Indomitable Lions come back from a goal down to win the quarter-final match at the iconic Japoma Stadium in Douala to the delight of the home fans.
But it was the Leopards who demonstrated their early desire to win the match and they took the lead in 22nd minute through Makabi Lilepo’s header silenced the home crowd.
Cameroon’s experienced striker Yannick Ndjeng equalised seven minutes later before Felix Oukine Tcheoude strike in the 42nd minute took a wicked deflection to beat goalkeeper Ley Matampi to put the home side in the lead at half-time.
The result means Cameroon will face either Morocco or Zambia in Wednesday’s semi-final at the Limbe Stadium.
But it was the two-time champions who started the match brightly by pinning the Indomitable Lions to their area and creating some anxious moments.
Early efforts by John Kabangu and Henock Baka were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Hashou Kerrido before the latter dived to save Kabangu’s long-range shot.
The Leopards stunned the hosts in the 20th minute when headed for Makabi Lilepo headed in from a corner kick to silence the vociferous home crowd.
The Indomitable Lions responded with a flurry of attacks into the Congolese area in their attempt to pacify their expectant fans and their efforts yielded the desired results.
A blunder by goalkeeper Ley Matampi in the 28th minute allowed Cameroon to restore parity through Yannick Ndjeng’s easy tap in.
Matampi attempted to fist away a long ball in his area but it fell gracefully to Ndjeng who had an easy work of just tapping it in to send the crowd into raptures.
The home fans were thrown into ecstasy just before the break when Felix Oukine’s powerful shot took a wicked deflection off a Congolese defender’s leg to beat wrong-footed goalkeeper Matampi.
The Indomitable Lions returned from the break and demonstrated their ambitions of extending their lead and continued where they left off by piling the pressure on the two-time champions.
Martin Asomo wriggled past two Congolese defenders in the 50th minute before firing past goalkeeper Matampi but the ball struck the upright and went back into play.
The Congolese warmed themselves into the game in search of the equalizer and threw more men forward as the clock ticked down.
Kerrido produced a fantastic save from Ernest Nsita’s cross from the left as striker Miche Mika prepared to connect when left alone in the box in the 70th minute.
It was the only glaring chance for the two-time winners that sealed their fate and secured the progress of Cameroon to the last four.