Cameroon’s Jean II Makoun was the hero at the Stade Gerland in Lyon on Tuesday night when his 47th minute goal turned out to be the decider in a first-leg round-of-16, European Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
The midfielder, who was jeered by his home fans when the teams came out to warm-up, picked up the ball inside the Madrid half, advanced to the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a thunderous strike from 22 yards to beat Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, Iker Cassillas.
“I don’t consider the goal as a sort of revenge,” the dimunitive player told French television at the end of the game.
“It’s a game and that’s it,” he added.
Many Lyon fans have been unhappy about Makoun whom they consider as unconvincing for the 7-time Champions of France. He is also seen as the protégé of the team’s coach, Claude Puel, who was also Makoun’s boss at Lille.
Generally, Makoun’s form has dipped for both club and country. He was often at the wrong end of insults by fans of the Indomitable Lions and finally lost his place to Eyong Enow Tarkang of Ajax Amsterdam when Cameroon faced Egypt in the quarter finals of January’s Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.
However, he wasn’t axed ahead of the friendly against Italy in March.
Will this performance spur him to re-conquer a place in Cameroon’s starting line up?