Cameroon beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in Africa Cup of Nations opener

The Indomitable Lions' Aboubakar penalty double sees host nation come from behind to win the tournament opener

Cameroon kicked off their campaign to win a sixth Africa Cup of Nations title with a 2-1 win against Burkina Faso at Stade Omnisport Paul Biya in Yaounde.

Despite playing the Group A fixture at home in front of a raucous crowd, it was the Stallions who took the lead in the 24th minute through a Gustavo Sangare volley. But the Indomitable Lions hit back with two penalties converted by Vincent Aboubakar in the 40th and 45th minutes.

The game started with Burkina Faso defender Steeve Yago becoming the first player to be booked in the tournament by Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal with less than a minute played after a harsh tackle on Moumi Ngamaleu.

In the eighth minute, the Indomitable Lions almost scored the opener when Vincent Aboubakar had a chance with a shot from the right-wing but he ended up sending it wide with his left foot.

It was all Cameroon in the opening stages and in the 10th minute, Karl Toko Ekambi rounded the Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi, but the angle proved tight for him and he drove the ball too wide.

Three minutes later, Bertrand Traore delivered a cross into the box, but Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana came off his line quickly to gather the ball and five minutes later, Ngamaleu launched a solo run, but he failed to create a chance as the ball was cleared for the first corner of the game in favour of Cameroon.

However, the Stallions stunned the home crowd in the 24th minute when Sangare unleashed a left-footed shot from the left side of the six-yard box to the top left corner past Onana after a cross from Bertrand Traore following a short corner.

In the 32nd minute, Burkina Faso’s Patrick Malo became the second player to be shown a yellow card after a clumsy challenge, and two minutes later, Cameroon had a chance to level matters from another corner but Ngamaleu’s header went wide.

However, with nine minutes left to the half-time break, Burkina Faso’s Traore committed a foul on the advancing Andre-Frank Anguissa inside the dangerzone.

Despite the referee at first, waving away the appeals from Cameroon players for a penalty, he was invited by VAR to review the challenge and he finally awarded the spot-kick.

It was Aboubakar, who stepped up to slot the ball with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner past Koffi for the leveller.

Burkina Faso then missed a chance to retake the lead when Traore’s left-footed effort from outside the box went inches wide and in the 42nd minute, Cameroon’s Jerome Onguene was shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

In added time at the end of the half, Cameroon were awarded another penalty after Dayo made a rash slide tackle and this time referee Ghorbal pointed to the spot without hesitation.

Once again, the team’s captain took the responsibility to send the resultant kick past Koffi for a 2-1 lead at the half-time break.

The second half started with Cameroon seeking to stretch their lead and it was Ngamaleu, who missed an open sitter after being put through by Aboubakar in the 54th minute.

Cameroon’s Onana then denied Burkina Faso a chance to come back into the game after Traore’s free-kick was half-cleared by the defense and Yago rattled a shot; however, the 25-year-old custodian was well placed to make a fantastic save.

In the 60th minute, Cameroon thought they had scored their third goal after Aboubakar’s effort hit the back of the net but it was disallowed due to offside on the advice of the video assistant referee.

After Onana’s save, Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao made a double change, Toko Ekambi, and Pierre Kunde were replaced by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Clinton N’Jie while Burkina Faso benched Abdoul Tapsoba and Cyrille Bayala for Mohamed Konate and Zakaria Sanogo.

With 10 minutes left to the final whistle, Aboubakar should have grabbed a hat-trick but after receiving a brilliant pass from Choupo-Moting, he wasted the opportunity as his shot from inside the penalty area flew narrowly wide of the right post.

Aboubakar was then replaced by Yvan Neyou while Burkina Faso also rested the hard-working Traore for Hassane Bande but the Indomitable Lions held on to secure their first victory of the tournament on home soil.


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