Cameroon rally to win Africa Cup of Nations opener [+Highlights]

Al Jazeera | Captain Vincent Aboubakar scores a brace of penalties as the hosts come from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1.

Hosts Cameroon have made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, beating Burkina Faso 2-1.

Cameroon came from behind with two penalties in the space of eight minutes at the end of the first half to beat Burkina Faso on Sunday in the opening game.

Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored both penalties, calmly slotting the first to the right side of the goal and the second to the left to complete a comeback that left home fans sighing with relief.

Cameroon had waited out a three-year delay to host this Africa Cup after being stripped of the 2019 tournament and then seeing their 2021 hosting delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Burkina Faso were the first to score at the Olembe Stadium Yaounde with Gustavo Sangare netting in the 24th minute.

He scored after Burkina Faso had a header cleared off the line and hit the crossbar in the same move.

But Burkina Faso lost the lead with two pieces of defending at the end of the first half.

Bertrand Traore barged into Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to give Cameroon their first penalty, which was only confirmed after referee Mustapha Ghorbal of Algeria consulted VAR.

VAR is being used in all games at the Africa Cup for the first time. It was used from the quarter-finals onwards at the last Africa Cup.

Soon after, Issoufou Dayo mistimed a sliding tackle to foul Nouhou Tolo and Aboubakar scored from the spot again three minutes into first-half injury time.

Burkina Faso threatened a second-half comeback as Traore tested Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana with a free-kick from range and Adama Guira then had an attempt saved by Onana, but the home side held on.

The Africa Cup officially started with a short opening ceremony a few hours earlier at Olembe Stadium.

Artists perform a traditional dance during the opening ceremony of the African Cup of Nations [Themba Hadebe/AP Photo]

Coronavirus restrictions limited the crowd at the Olembe Stadium to 80 percent of its 60,000-capacity, but that did not spoil the party for the hosts and celebratory fireworks lit up the sky after the match.

The match and opening ceremony were attended by Cameroon’s 88-year-old President Paul Biya, who has ruled the Central African country for 40 years, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Confederation of African Football head Patrice Motsepe.

The Cape Verde Islands and Ethiopia are due to play in the second Group A game later on Sunday at the Olembe Stadium.

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  1. AMBA ei clear?. we donc catch Amba for kanas. hahahahaha

  2. Dictator Biya was indeed the laughing stock at the ceremony. He collapsed infront of the world.
    The blood of the fourty thousand and counting Ambazontans murdered by his terrorist soldiers has come back to haunt the evil dictator.

    ALLAH IST GROß!!!!!!!

    • ” Time has a way of diminishing men who think they are indispensable and Mr. Biya has had more than his fair share of humiliation.

      But the humiliation is far from over. Since he has opted to stay in the spotlight, he must accept that time will continue to expose him to ridicule.

      If he is not sporting a tootless mouth, then know he will show up with a face that has been invaded by age-related scars and it is fair game for his critics to make fun of him, as he has always projected himself as the defiant dictator who will never quit power”

    • Old Amba lies. I thought you will say AFCON will not hold in Cameroon as you were saying before. now is biya collapsed. hahahah. amba lies lies as usual . that is why your comedy struggle is going no where

  3. I salut Cameroon government regarding the African nations cup. They have done a good job. No government is perfect. Even the ambazonia government in Maryland still has problems. I believe we can unit and build Cameroon.