Captain Vincent Aboubakar tucked away two first-half penalties as hosts Cameroon came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match of the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Yaounde on Sunday.
Despite missing coach Kamou Malo and six players due to COVID-19, Burkina Faso shocked the home fans present at the newly-built Olembe Stadium as Gustavo Sangare scored the game and the tournament’s first goal.
The brilliant start from the Stallions was undone by two clumsy challenges in the final minutes of the first half. Firstly, Traore clumsily brought down Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, the penalty was given following a video assistant referee review, and Aboubakar stepped up to restore parity in Yaounde.
Just minutes later, the 2017 champions got a second penalty in first-half injury time when Issoufou Dayo made a bungling sliding tackle on Tolo, leaving the referee with no chance but to point to the spot. Aboubakar sent goalkeeper Herve Koffi the wrong way to hand Toni Conceicao’s side the lead before the break.
There were no goals in the second half, as the hosts began their quest for another continental glory with a win in front of an estimated 45,000 fans including President Paul Biya and CAF President Patrice Motsepe.
Elsewhere in the group, Cape Verde put up a decent shift to beat Ethiopia 1-0 on Sunday evening. Forward Tavares Julio was picked out by Garry Rodrigues and the Al-Faisaly striker nodded home from close range in first-half stoppage time. Despite the early dismissal of Ethiopian defender Yared Baye following a VAR review, it was a hard-fought win in the end as the Blue Sharks claimed their second-ever win at an AFCON tournament.
Cape Verde 1-0 Ethiopia: Cape Verde secure their second-ever win at an AFCON tournament and their first since 2013 vs. Angola. — Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) January 9, 2022
Ethiopia had to play the vast majority of the match with 10 men, following Yared Baye's 12th minute red card.#ETHCPV | #AFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/t7RoTT8FiI
The hosts lead Group A by virtue of goals scored and will face Ethiopia on matchday two as Cape Verde and Burkina-Faso battle for points in the other game.
Photo Credit: AFP