Sebastien Haller scored twice in the opening half, as hosts Cote d’Ivoire defeated Cameroon 2-1 at Lassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Monday night.

The FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 qualifiers Group D “Clash of Titans” was up to expectations, and saw Les Elephants taking a two goal lead at halftime, with Nicolas Ngamaleu pulling one back for The Indomitable Lions in the second half.

Cote d’Ivoire raised their tally to four points on top of the group, one more than second placed Cameroon. Malawi takes on Mozambique in the group’s other game on Tuesday.

After a cautious start to the opening half from both sides, it was the hosts who took the lead after 20 minutes. From a free kick just outside the penalty area, Jean-Michel Seri shot was stopped by touching the hands of Cameroon skipper Vincent Aboubakar, awarding The Elephants a penalty.

From the spot, Sebastien Haller sent Devis Epassy to the wrong direction to give Cote d’Ivoire the lead.

Nine minutes later it became 2-0. Jean Kouassi pass found Haller inside the area, and the forward got the best of Epassy to complete his brace and double the hosts’ lead.

Cameroon came nearest to half the deficit after 37 minutes, when Christian Bassogog found Joyskim Dawa Tchakonte at the edge of the area, but right back goal bound shot was stopped by Sylvain Gbohouo in goal for Cote d’Ivoire. The first half ended with the hosts leading 2-0.

Three minutes after the break, Kouassi could have added a third for the hosts. Ibrahim Sangare found his way past two defenders, and his backheel pass found Kouassi who sent a curling shot just wide.

Cameroon substitute Stephane Bahoken tried to find the back of the net with an acrobatic kick after 55 minutes, but his effort was easily held by Gbohouo.

At the hour mark, Cameroon found one back. A foul from Eric Bailly on substitute Karl Toko Ekambi inside the area awarded the visitors a penalty. And from the spot Nicolas Ngamaleu made no mistake to make it 2-1.

At the 75th minute, the crossbar saved the visitors from conceding the third, when Jean-Michael Seri freekick rebounded from the woodwork after beating Epassy.

With time passing, Cameroon threw more players in attack, while Cote d’Ivoire relied on counter attacks. Time passed as The Elephants held to a vital win to go top of Group D.

Source: CAF