10-man Tajikistan shock African champions Cameroon

Tajikistan outlasted Cameroon to win their opening match at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil thanks to a lone second-half penalty from Sharifbek Rahmatov in Vitoria on Monday.

It was a perfect way to start for the Central Asians in their first match on the world stage since 2007, while the West Africans were left licking their wounds on their return after a 16-year absence.

Tajikistan showed some resolute defending and strong organisation to survive an early onslaught from a Cameroon side who dominated goal-scoring opportunities.

However, the Tajiks, who relied largely on counter-attacks, took the lead as Rahmatov converted from the penalty spot six minutes after the interval following a foul from Cameroon goalkeeper Manfred Ekoi.

Tajikistan, having had a goal chalked off after a VAR review, were then reduced to 10 men when Shuhrat Elmurodov was dismissed for a second cautionable offence with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Cameroon started brightly forcing impressive goalkeeper Shohrukh Qirghizboev into a fantastic early save and then crashing a shot against the frame of the goal. But after falling behind, the Africans were guilty of some wild passing and poor options in the attacking third. They now have little scope for error with further Group E matches against Argentina and Spain. –

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