Cameroon came from behind to overcome Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.
The match was a fierce and, at times, tense affair, especially in light of Burkina Faso’s intention to boycott the game owing to what they said were inconsistencies in the COVID-19 test results of its players and personnel.
Burkina Faso took the lead against the run of play soon after the midway point in the first half when Gustavo Sangare side-footed a cross from the right wing by captain Bertrand Traore.
During a period of pressure from Burkina Faso, who had an effort saved off the line following a corner and then saw a follow-up cross from the left create a dangerous situation in Cameroon’s penalty box, the goal was scored.
As a result of Traore’s interception of the loose ball following the cross, he whipped in another that Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana entirely missed, allowing Sangare to guide the ball in at the far post.
Cameroon, on the other hand, drew level five minutes before halftime thanks to a penalty kick by captain Vincent Aboubakar after a VAR review was carried out following an Andre Zambo Anguissa foul on Traore.
After Issoufou Dayo was adjudged to have made a late charge on Cameroonian left back Nouhou Tolo, the five-time African champions seized the lead in extra time right at the end of the first half with another penalty by Aboubakar.
With Onana sliding a free-kick from Traore over the bar and Cameroon clearing a goal-bound effort off the line, Burkina Faso made an encouraging start to the second half.
Although Cameroon appeared to have expanded their lead just after the hour mark, a long VAR review concluded that Aboubakar’s effort, which came after Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu’s shot was stopped, was in fact offside.
A tenacious defensive effort and some poor finishing by both teams kept the score at 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Cameroon now leads Group A with three points, while Burkina Faso is at the bottom of the table with 0 points as a result of this result. Ethiopia will face Cape Verde in the other group game, which will take place at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé later on Sunday.