Ajara Nchout struck deep into stoppage time to send Cameroon through to the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup with a dramatic victory over New Zealand.

Midfielder Nchout, who had fired the African side into a 57th-minute lead, scored with the last kick of the game to ensure they progressed as one of the best third-placed teams just as it looked as though Aurelle Awona's own goal had ended their stay in France. 

With the sides having scored only a single goal between them with both losing their opening two group games, it was perhaps no surprise that the first half at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier unfolded as a tight encounter.


Cameroon striker Gabrielle Onguene, who had earlier dragged a shot just wide, went close with a lofted 19th-minute effort which keeper Erin Nayler managed to claw away, while New Zealand midfielder Ria Percival only just failed to connect with Sarah Gregorius' intelligent 28th-minute knock-down.

Rosie White tested keeper Annette Ngo Ndom with an early header and Raissa Feudjio fired wide at the other end as both sides made early pushes after the restart, and the breakthrough finally arrived with 57 minutes gone.

Yvonne Leuko's ball into the box allowed Nchout to turn expertly past defender Abby Erceg and slot neatly into the bottom corner.

Gregorius sent a diving header just wide from Ali Riley's cross six minutes later with New Zealand hunting an equaliser, but Nayler had to produce a triple save to deny Onguene twice and substitute Alexandra Takounda as Cameroon looked to kill the game off.

Ngo Ndom was finally beaten by team-mate Awona 10 minutes from time when the defender sliced Katie Bowen's inswinging cross past her own keeper, but her blushes were spared when Nchout won it in the fifth minute of stoppage time with another assured