A last-gasp penalty by Geremi gave Cameroon a 1-0 victory over Turkey in front of 43,000 supporters at the Stade de France on Saturday 21 June in their second Group B match, placing them in pole position for a place in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup. The Middlesbrough midfielder coolly slotted home to break the deadlock after substitute Joseph-Desire Job was clumsily brought down in the area. The result means the The Indomitable Lions now need a point at most against USA to go through to the next stage, while Turkey must get something out of their encounter with Brazil to progress.
Turkey coach Senol Gunes, whose youngsters did him proud in the opening game against the US, made six changes to his starting line-up, notably bringing back the experienced Yildiray Basturk for the prodigiously gifted Gokdeniz Karadeniz. Cameroon’s Winfried Schaefer was happy to keep with the same 11 that performed so well in the 1-0 defeat of world champions Brazil in their opening fixture.
Playing in front of a large, passionate and colourful crowd, the two teams started off at a quick pace, determined to grab the three points. Fresh from scoring that wonder goal against Brazil, Samuel Etoo looked in menacing mood, using his pace and movement to disorient the Turkish back line.
With a considerable height advantage, the African side looked dangerous whenever the ball was in the air. From one cross, Etoo flung himself at the ball from six yards only to see his diving header shave the far post with Rustu Recber glued to his line (10’).
Turkey, who until then had found it hard to pierce the resolute Cameroonian defence, almost made the breakthrough. Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Basturk instigated the move with a clever chip into the path of Tuncay Sanli, but the matchwinner against the US missed the target with a left-foot half-volley from a tight angle (20’).
Turkey almost went ahead immediately after the restart. A wayward back pass by Jean Joel Perrier Doumbe fell perfectly into the path of Tuncay, but the Fenerbahce striker’s first touch was heavy and goalkeeper Idris Kameni was able to smother his effort and then block the follow up (46’).
Backed by a vociferous local Turkish community in Paris, the Europeans were beginning to get on top with their skilful one-touch passing. They had three good chances to take the lead in a five-minute spell just after the hour mark. First, Okan Yilmaz headed over after a fine right-wing centre from Tuncay. Then, Ergun Penbe skipped through a couple of challenges before striking the ball with his left foot over the bar. And with perhaps the best chance of the game thus far, Tuncay nipped in front of Kameni only to see his goal-bound flick cleared off the line by Lucien Mettomo (65’).
Just as it seemed the The Indomitable Lions’ were tiring, they responded with a fast counter-attack. From the right hand side, Geremi volleyed across the box into the path of Etoo, whose shot was saved by the excellent Recber. Joseph-Desire job, who had just come as a substitute, saw his follow up charged down (73’).
Then, in time added on, Cameroon struck. Job burst into the box and was hauled to the ground just inside the area. Paraguayan referee Carlos Amarilla had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Geremi side-footed home (91’).