It was the nerves of the penalty shootout which decided the winner of the Nehru Cup here on Sunday.
India beat Cameroon in the shoot out after the full time ended 2-2.
Thirty minutes of extra time too could not break the deadlock.
With Indians, the first to get a shot, being on target all the five times, the final Cameroon kick hit the pole to spark the celebrations.
At the start Cameroon was quick to take stock. The players used the space creatively and the moves came in torrents on either flank.
Cameroon had seized up the opposition well and concentrated on stretching the Indian midfielders and defenders.
It was a new tactic as Ashu Tambe and Kingue Mpondo kept the opposition busy with their innovative play, and Kologny Vigny Merime a relentless threat upfront.
Cameroon kept the Indian camp in a state of confusion for most of the first half. Marking became a tedious and frustrating job for the host team as Cameroon excelled in changing positions.
A header close to the bar by Merime shook the Indians. But soon the Cameroon side came to grief from a rare moment of complacency.
India, forging a lead, was against the run of play. Sunil Chetri was on the lookout for an opening, but Cameroon had Meyoupo Stephane and Bebey Kingue Paul plugging the loopholes at the back.
A free-kick earned when Chetri was fouled in the 20th minute, gave India a lead that must have stunned its own supporters.
Clifford Miranda floated the ball from a distance. As the ball dipped, Gouramangi Singh rose and met it with a firm header. Cameroon goalkeeper Ngome Lawrence missed the flight of the ball which nestled teasingly at the back of the net.
A good 20,000 spectators roared in celebration of the goal. But they were to be silenced soon.
Cameroon, with its pride dented, stuck to its attacking postures.
It charged the Indian citadel at will and literally parked itself in the opponent half.
There was a distinct touch of arrogance as Cameroon maintained possession and crafted moves down the middle.
A faulty clearance from Raju Gaikwad paved the way for Cameroon’s equaliser.
Thierry Makon, happy to see the ball land at his feet, wasted little time in scoring with a scorching volley.
Goalkeeper Subrata Paul had no chance of blocking that pile-driver.
Cameroon discarded short passes and indulged in long ball to beat the Indians in the air, and took the aerial route to lead for the first time.
The second half was just nine minutes old when Cameroon scored from a flag kick. Makon curled it in nicely and Kingue Mpondo sank the ball in the Indian goal with a deft header.
The ease with which he met the ball marked the difference between the teams.
But India survived. A penalty came its way in the 79th minute when Chetri, even as he lost control, was hacked by substitute goalkeeper Nkesi Hosea. Cameroon paid for its slackness in defence and Chetri scored to level the scores.
The result: India 2 (Gouramangi Singh 20, Sunil Chetri 79) vs Cameroon 2 (Thierry Makon 29, Kingue Mpondo 54).
Keywords: Nehru Cup 2012