Goalkeeping gaffe allows Sierra Leone to snatch draw with Ivory Coast
Alhaji Kamara bundled the ball into the net following an astonishing goalkeeping blunder in injury time to give Sierra Leone a shock 2-2 draw with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations in Douala on Sunday.
Badra Ali Sangare went to catch a ball headed back to him by a teammate in the third added minute in an attempt to prevent a corner, only to drop it into the path of Steven Caulker who squared for substitute Kamara to score.
It was a remarkable moment and one that prevented the Ivory Coast from wrapping up qualification for the last 16 there and then.
Sangare, who has taken over the gloves at this tournament because first-choice Sylvain Gbohouo was handed a doping ban, then went off injured, leaving right-back Serge Aurier to see out the match between the posts.
Before the late drama the 2015 champions appeared to have a second win in as many games in Group E sewn up thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s second-half strike, but this result leaves them on four points and Sierra Leone on two.
“Honestly I can’t explain that goal. You could have Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola in charge and they wouldn’t be able to prepare for that,” said Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle, whose side must still face Algeria.
“I thought our performance was absolutely fine and we even played some really attractive stuff at times, but maybe this stadium doesn’t agree with us.”
Franck Kessie had an early penalty for the Elephants saved but Ajax star Sebastien Haller put them ahead and Musa Kamara made it 1-1 before Pepe struck.
Arsenal forward Pepe, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and captain Aurier all came into the Ivorian line-up as Beaumelle made three changes for this west African derby.
Zaha was coming up against Sierra Leone centre-back Caulker –- the duo played in the same England team in a friendly in Sweden in 2012 before later declaring for their current national teams.
Caulker excelled in his side’s surprise 0-0 draw with Algeria on Tuesday but could only look on as the Ivorians won a 10th-minute penalty when Zaha was brought down by Umaru Bangura.
However, goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara had been the star player against Algeria and he produced a fine stop to deny Kessie.
Haller –- who netted 10 times in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage –- showed Kessie how it should be done, controlling in the box and finishing with ease to equalise.
The lively Mohamed Buya Turay came close to equalising late in the first half for the Leone Stars but they did draw level in the 55th minute.
Musa Kamara justified his inclusion in the starting line-up by controlling the ball on the edge of the area and sending a ferocious shot high into the net.
His country’s first AFCON goal since 1996 was soon trumped by Pepe’s strike, only for the bizarre late scenes that allowed the outsiders to earn a point.