An underwhelming draw for hosts Gabon has seen it crash out of the Africa Cup of Nations and in doing so became just the fourth host nation to fail to make it past the group stage in AFCON history.
Gabon knowing that it needed to win to advance having drawn its previous two matches started the match brightly and will look back on Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s missed opportunity early on with regret.
The striker missed a superb opportunity from in front just two yards out as he skewed his shot wide.
He got himself tangled up in the box as he tried to convert Bouanga’s low, dipping cross.
Having had the heartbreak from the 2012 AFCON finals hanging over him where he missed a penalty that denied Gabon a chance of making the semi-finals, he may take this even harder.
It what has been a disappointing performance from the hosts all tournament, Aubameyang’s performance has often been the shining light, however he seemed weighed down by the expectation of a whole nation as Gabon’s hopes slipped away.
Gabon continued to march forward in the early exchanges with Denis Bouanga denied by Cameroon keeper Fabrice Ondoa twice as the hosts desperately searched for a goal.
The more they were denied the more the confidence seemed to be sapped from Gabon.
Up the other end of the field, Cameroon showed little to suggest they were fighting for all three points. The Indomitable Lions seemed content to play deep and defend for the draw particularly in the second stanza, although they did create a few opportunities in the first half.
First, Montreal Impact defender Ambroise Oyongo had his shot clip the post and deflect wide and then a little while later Aldophe Teikeu headed wide when he should have directed his header on target.
As the second half chugged along, Gabon failed to create any meaningful chances as the game seemed to have bypassed it. Their inability to break down the stubborn back four of Cameroon ultimately hurt them despite coming close in the finals minutes.
Denis Bouanga had his crisp shot crash back off the woodwork into the path of an unmarked Didier N’Dong who watched as his shot was somehow tipped over the bar by Ondoa who had done marvelously well to react after picking himself up off the turf.
It would be the final chance for Gabon to steal victory and it had to be content with a third consecutive draw as it meekly exited the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The scoreless draw was enough for Cameroon to seal second spot in Group A with five points from its three fixtures. It is their first quarter finals appearance in AFCON since 2010.