Andre Onana could return to Manchester United much sooner than expected after a nightmare Africa Cup of Nations campaign continued on Friday. Cameroon are on the brink of a group-stage exit in the Ivory Coast following a 3-1 defeat against Senegal in Onana’s first appearance of the tournament.
Altay Bayindir will have been gearing up for his United debut against Newport County in the FA Cup on January 28, with Erik ten Hag’s ever-present goalkeeper away on international duty.
However, Onana could be back in Manchester in time to travel for the FA Cup fourth-round trip amid a disastrous AFCON.
The Red Devils’ No. 24 suffered a frustrating start to the tournament, having been whisked off immediately after the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
His flight to the Ivory Coast was delayed due to the weather conditions, making him miss Cameroon’s opener against Guinea.
Rigobert Song’s side failed to beat their 10-man opponents, coming from behind to secure an underwhelming 1-1 draw.
Onana was ready to start Friday’s clash against defending champions Senegal but couldn’t prevent defeat and he raised questions over whether he could’ve done more for all three goals.
Ismaila Sarr opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Onana opted to clear a high ball by punching it rather than catching it.
It welcomed instant pressure before the Marseille winger left him rooted to the spot with a vicious low strike at his near post.
Habib Diallo made it 2-0 on 71 minutes, poking home a square ball across Onana’s goal to take advantage of slow Cameroon defending.
Jean-Charles Castelletto offered Cameroon hope in the final 10 minutes with a headed dagger with his side’s first shot on target of the match.
But former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane sealed the victory in stoppage time, aiming a pinpoint first-touch finish past Onana from a cutback.
The United stopper has shouldered criticism for his failure to stop Mane’s strike, given it was a slow-moving ball. It’s not the first time his positioning has come into question this term.
Cameroon will be on the verge of an early exit if Guinea defeat fourth-place Gambia this evening. They would trail the former by three points, with potentially a significantly inferior goal difference.
If Onana’s country crash out on Tuesday, he would likely be in contention to face Newport next Sunday.
But even if Ten Hag hands Bayindir a chance at Rodney Parade, Onana almost certainly will be available to return for United’s Premier League trip to Wolves on February 1.