Deadly rush overshadows Cameroon’s Africa Cup progress

Cameroon’s progress at the Africa Cup of Nations was overshadowed by a stampede outside the stadium that killed at least six people in the host nation’s win over Comoros.

The thunderbolt came as the crowd struggled to gain access to the Olembe stadium in the capital Yaounde as Cameroon beat Comoros 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

Forwards Karl Toko Ekambi and Vincent Aboubakar gave Cameroon what seemed an insurmountable lead in the 70th minute against the tournament newcomers, who are ranked 132nd in the world and played with a defender in goal due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the team.

Comoros also faced playing most of the match with 10 men after Jimmy Abdou was sent off in the seventh minute for stepping on the back of Moumi Ngamaleu’s ankle.

But Comoros, who reached the round of 16 by ousting four-time African champions Ghana, managed to produce one of the goals of the tournament so far to offer a glimmer of hope of a comeback.

Youssouf M’Changama scored from a 30-yard free kick in the 81st minute, but Comoros failed to equalise.

Details of the tragedy outside the stadium were not confirmed until after the game. Officials at nearby Messassi Hospital said they received at least 40 injured in the stampede.

“Some of the injured are in desperate condition,” said nurse Olinga Prudence. “We will have to evacuate them to a specialist hospital.”

Cameroon is hosting Africa’s flagship football tournament for the first time in 50 years.

Cameroon are set to face another tournament debutant on Saturday in the quarter-finals in Douala after Guinea beat Gambia 1-0 in the day’s other match after a goal from Musa Barrow in the 71st.

Gambia had Yusupha Njie sent off in the 87th for elbowing an opponent as they went up for a header, but Egyptian referee Amin Omar also gave Guinean Ibrahima Conte a second yellow in injury time .

Guinea were playing without incumbent captain Naby Keita, who was suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the group stage.

Guinea had a great chance to equalize late in the game when they hit the post, then the crossbar and saw a shot on goal blocked in quick succession.

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