Cameroon, Benin both reach last 16 after draw


Holders Cameroon played out their second successive 0-0 draw at the Africa Cup of Nations when they were held by Benin on Tuesday, meaning they finished second in their group and must face neighbours Nigeria in the round of 16.

The result, in another disappointing Group F match, also meant that Benin qualified for the knockout stages as they made it past the group stage of the competition for the first time at the fourth attempt.

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Cameroon finished with five points but were edged into second place on goals scored by Ghana who beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0.

Benin, who drew all of their matches, finished with three points and their goal difference of zero was enough to ensure they will finish as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Cameroon's Yaya Banana was closest to breaking the deadlock when he headed against the crossbar in the 82nd minute but, overall, it was another uninspired performance from the Indomitable Lions. 

"I am very satisfied because we are in the next round although we are disappointed because we wanted to win the match," said Cameroon's Dutch coach Clarence Seedorf.

"We have to improve a few details, especially in the last part of the field, to be a bit smarter, create more chances," he added. "That is football, we need to accept that the opponents did a good job in defending, we pushed the whole match."

His opposite number Michel Dussuyer, a Cup of Nations stalwart coaching his third different side in the African tournament, admitted his team had set out for a draw.

"Everybody has made a sacrifice for tonight because we were looking for this point, everybody has fought hard," said the Frenchman.

"We didn't play our best football tonight. We defended well, we tried to reduce the spaces and stop them exploiting their speed in attack."

It was pretty much all Cameroon in the first half.

Karl Toko Ekambi had a clear chance after five minutes but sent his header over the bar after rising to meet Collings Fai's cross.

Ambroise Oyongo saw his low drive tipped past the post by Saturnin Allagbe, who also did well to tip away a low drive from Eric Choupo-Moting, while Oyongo was not far away with a rising drive just before halftime.

Benin offered little threat although a low free kick into their area caused panic as Oyongo was forced to dive between two defenders to intercept before keeper Andre Onana grabbed the ball.

The second half became increasingly scrappy. Cameroon tried to get around the massed Benin defence by chipping balls over the top but the ploy did not work and they began to run out of ideas.

Benin, sensing they were near the point they needed, fell back into defence and had only one real scare when substitute Banana headed against the bar from Pierre Kunde Malong's cross.