Comoros fielded an outfield player in goal for their Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 tie against hosts Cameroon after seeing their three regular shot-saving options wiped out in the middle of a a crisis of COVID-19 and injuries.
Left-back Chaker Alhadhur wore the gloves and his performance was the big talking point of the game.
The island nation of Comoros was not even expected to get this far: they created a huge upset by advancing to the last 16 in their first appearance in the competition, and they faced the Indomitable Lions in form that lit up the group stage. with seven goals.
Cameroon scored two more goals to eliminate Comoros, but the decimated Coelacanthes side fought back starting with their left-back between the sticks. Alhadhur put on the goalkeeper’s shirt and made sure his number 3 was visible for the debutants:
Alhadhur allowed a goal in the first half and he didn’t have to make a single save in the first 45 minutes. He wasn’t so willing to use his hands on that ball near the outside of the box. It was a cautious move by the substitute keeper:
In the second half, Alhadhur was busier, making four saves, starting with this one after the break:
And then here’s how he outsmarted CAN top scorer Vincent Aboubakar with that unconventional double save:
Who is Alhadhour?
Comoros goalkeeping coach Jean-Daniel Padovani confirmed before the match that the team had selected a player to play the goalkeeper role and it turned out to be Alhadhur when the starting XI was announced on match day.
The defender was born in France and has spent his entire career in the country. His professional career started with his local team, Nantes, before moving on to Caen and Chateauroux, and eventually joining current club Ajaccio in 2021.
The 30-year-old made his Comoros debut in a friendly against Burkina Faso in 2014 and became a first-team regular until a cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for the past few years. stages of their qualifying campaign for this year’s CAN.
Alhadhur was an unused substitute for each of the team’s CAN 2022 group stage matches against Gabon, Morocco and Ghana.
Alhadhur, who is listed on Ajaccio’s website as 5ft 8in, is not known to have played as a goalkeeper in an official match ahead of Monday’s encounter with Cameroon. However, Padovani told reporters last week that he looked fine in training ahead of the match.
“He’s a player who in training has shown he can play as a goalkeeper,” he told reporters.
What happened to the Comorian guards?
Two of the country’s three goalkeepers, Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada, tested positive for COVID-19 and missed Monday’s game, while first-choice Salim Ben Boina was injured.
Comoros were still forced to take the field as long as they had 11 players available, regardless of their goalkeeper’s situation.
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It was a difficult mission because it was not only the stoppers who suffered. A total of 12 members of the Comorian squad have been ruled out by COVID, as has coach Amir Abdou.
“We are trying to manage this as best we can,” Comoros general manager El Hadad Himidi explained before the match. “Without the coach, some major players and the two remaining goalkeepers, the situation is quite difficult.”
What happened in Comoros-Cameroon?
Although he was down to 10 men just seven minutes into the match after Comoros player Nadjim Abdou was shown a red card for stomping on an opponent, the heroism of Alhadhur, 30, maintained his team in the match and gave Comoros a fight. luck.
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Unfortunately for Comoros, Cameroon’s Aboubakar managed to break through and score his side’s second goal in the 70th minute.
Although Comorian number 10 Youssouf M’Changama fended off a goal in the 81st minute with a superb free-kick into the top corner, Cameroon held on to the lead and booked their place in the next round.
The Indomitable Lions will face The Gambia in the quarter-finals.