Yaoundé (AFP) – Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored a pair of penalties as hosts Cameroon came from behind to beat Covid-ravaged Burkina Faso 2-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations opening game in Yaoundé on Sunday .
Gustavo Sangare put Burkina Faso ahead in the Group A game at Olembe Stadium, but Aboubakar equalized on the spot five minutes before the break after a VAR review.
The 29-year-old, who scored the winner of the 2017 Nations Cup final against Egypt, went on to score what turned out to be the decisive one in the first-half stoppage and he was only deprived of a hat-trick by an offside flag after the Pause.
It’s the perfect start for the Indomitable Lions as they look to win their sixth continental title at home, with Cameroon finally able to host a tournament that was taken from them and given to Egypt in 2019 before being postponed there. a year ago due to the pandemic.
Covid restrictions limited the crowds at Olembe Stadium to 80% of its 60,000 capacity, but that didn’t spoil the party for the hosts and the celebratory fireworks lit the skies full-time.
The match and the opening ceremony were attended by Cameroonian President Paul Biya, 88, who ruled the Central African country for 40 years, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the Confederation supremo. African footballer Patrice Motsepe.
However, Aboubakar, the former Porto striker who now plays for his football club in Saudi Arabia, was the star of the show as Cameroon immediately took the initiative in Group A, in which they will also face the Ethiopia and Cape Verde.
Burkina Faso received a heavy blow on the eve of the tournament when it emerged that coach Kamou Malo and several players had tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving assistant coach Firmin Sanou to take charge of the team.
Still, they took the lead in the 24th minute when Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana came on and missed a Bertrand Traoré cross from the right and French midfielder Sangare was there to put the ball back at the far post.
Nevertheless, Cameroon, coached by Portugal’s Toni Conceicao, turned the game around at half-time with the help of VAR.
The Algerian referee handed the Indomitable Lions a penalty for a Traore foul on Napoli’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Aboubakar equalized in the 40th minute.
He then scored again over 12 meters in the first half stoppage after a reckless challenge from Issoufou Dayo.
Burkina Faso threatened to come back in the second half as Traore tested Onana with a free kick from close range and Adama Guira then had an attempt stopped by the goalkeeper, but the home side held on.
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