June 20, 2019 / 6:25 PM / a month ago

Nchout sends Cameroon through with last kick of game

MONTPELLIER, France (Reuters) - Cameroon qualified for the women’s World Cup last 16 when Ajara Nchout earned them a 2-1 win over New Zealand with the last kick of their Group E match on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Group E - Cameroon v New Zealand - Stade de La Mosson, Montpellier, France - June 20, 2019. Cameroon's Alexandra Takounda in action with New Zealand's Rebekah Stott and New Zealand's Abby Erceg. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Nchout, whose opener was canceled out by Aurelle Awona’s own goal 10 minutes from time, found the back of the net five minutes into stoppage time to put the African side on three points.

Cameroon go through as one of the four best third-placed teams while New Zealand were eliminated after three defeats.

The result means Argentina are also knocked out of the tournament.

The Netherlands topped the group with a maximum nine points after beating Canada, who ended with six points, 2-1 on Thursday.

“I know the girls inside out, we’ve spent 10 years together. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I talk to them here and there,” Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa told a news conference.

“I told them ‘I know you’ve taken a hit with the equalizer but keep your heads up and focus and do what’s necessary’. We’ve played against Canada, we’ve played against the team that’s top of the Group, we’ll play our best and look forward to what’s next.”

Nchout opened the scoring 12 minutes into the second half, netting with a left-foot shot after dribbling past Abby Erceg.

All their efforts appeared to have counted for nothing when Awona deflected Katie Bowen’s cross into her own net, the scoreline then meaning both teams were eliminated.

New Zealand pushed hard as Cameroon looked increasingly shaky, but Nchout kept her cool deep into stoppage-time, beating Erin Nayler with a right-foot effort from inside the area.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond

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