Hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso have booked their spots in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2021) knockout stages after the final round of group matches in Group A on Monday.
Cameroon played out a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde, while Burkina Faso and Ethopia settled for the share of the spoils too in Bafoussam.
Favourites Burkina Faso, who had lost just one of their previous 10 matches, came into the game knowing a point will confirm their place in the next round against an Ethiopian side that has recorded just one win from their last seven.
Despite this obvious disparity, Wubetu Abate’s side held their own in the opening exchanges, with Getaneh Kebede’s fierce strike testing Farid Ouédraogo. However, after Hassane Bandé had wasted a big opportunity, the Stallions went ahead in the 24th minute. Cyrille Bayala controlled a pass from Adam Guira before looping the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko.
Burkina Faso took the lead into the break but shortly after the restart, the ‘Walias’ were awarded a penalty following a VAR review when Steeve Yago handled Surafel Dagnachew’s free-kick in the area and Kebede stepped up to convert beyond Ouédraogo.
Burkina Faso pulled through to reach the AFCON knockout stages, while Ethiopia finished with one point and thus were eliminated from the competition.
Hosts march on
Cameroon secured the top spot in Group A after their 1-1 draw with Cape Verde at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Yaoundé on Monday.
A result that means the Indomitable Lions have lost just one of their last 13 matches at the AFCON tournament.
Tournament top-scorer Vincent Aboubakar was at his best again and came close to opening the scoring with an exquisite volley before testing Vozinha from distance. Shortly before the break, the captain capitalized on a loose ball in the area to fire the 2017 champions into the lead.
Man of the moment! — Mimi Fawaz (@MimosaFawaz) January 17, 2022
What a tournament Vincent Aboubakar is having. 5 goals ⚽️ in 3 games.
It’s been a difficult few years for him, but he’s bounced back massively. He’s served his country 🇨🇲with so much heart. Love to see it. #AFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/SPZQk9jRmB
The ‘Blue Sharks’, with full knowledge that only a draw can hand them a chance of making the next round, began to offer more threat as the first half progressed and continued that momentum into the second stanza.
Cape Verde eventually leveled when Kenny Rocha Santos squared the ball to Garry Rodrigues who flicked the ball beyond André Onana. The Olympiacos winger ensured the hosts continue their search for a first clean sheet of the tournament.
Aboubakar missed a glorious chance to increase his tally at the tournament late on as both sides settled for a draw. Cape Verde will now wait to discover if they qualify as one of the best third-placed teams, while Cameroon zoom into knockout stages.
Photo Credit: AFP