Tuesday 16 July 2019, 05:48

Nchout’s last-minute wonder goal

  • Ajara Nchout’s stunning last-minute strike against New Zealand was a crucial one

  • The second of her two goals that day took Cameroon into the last eight

  • Vote now for the Hyundai Goal of the Tournament

Cameroon battled hard in their opening two Group E matches against Canada and the Netherlands but came away with nothing, which left them needing to beat New Zealand to qualify for the last 16 at France 2019 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Ajara Nchout thought she had done the hard part in putting her side ahead on the hour mark, the forward showing her skills to outfox the Kiwi defence and finish coolly. Yet, with ten minutes to go her hard work was undone when team-mate Aurelle Awona sliced the ball into her own goal, which left the Cameroonians with no option but to go all out for a winner.

As the match ticked into a fifth minute of stoppage time, their hopes of finding one seemed to be slipping away, though Nchout was given one last opportunity when Gabrielle Onguene headed the ball on to her in the New Zealand half.

With much still to do, the striker turned Ria Percival inside out on the edge of the box, advanced on goal and clipped a curling shot wide of keeper Erin Nayler and just out of the reach of Football Ferns captain Ali Riley, the ball nestling just inside the post.

Nchout’s amazing last-gasp winner triggered scenes of joy for the Africans, as her team-mates – the substitutes’ bench included – rushed to congratulate her. It was a goal that sent Cameroon into the Round of 16, where they faced England. Though their run would end there, the Indomitable Lionesses would return home with the satisfaction of knowing they had scored one of the goals of the tournament, perhaps the goal of the tournament. The decision is yours!