The delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finally got off to a beautiful start with a breathtaking cultural display at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde. That perfectly set the tone and theme for the events 52 matches, the first of which was scheduled to take place following the opening ceremony.
A match of heavy essence to both sides especially for the host who were having the country’s head of state, President Paul Biya in attendance. Burkina Faso went into the match with a statement to make having prior to the match accused the host of foul play in the Covid-19 results that saw a number of their players missing out including head coach Kamou Malo.
Cameroon took the game to their opponents in the early stages, dominating possession and winning virtually all the 50-50 balls. Burkina Faso was pegged to their own half with limited efforts upfront and the few times they foraged upfront, they were easily pushed back with ease by the Indomitable Lions.
However, the Stallions were the first to get their name on the scoresheet after Sangare’s corner was not well defended by Cameroon, the midfielder connected to cross from skipper Bertrand Traore to steer a shot into the net after the Traore did well to keep the ball in play from the corner.
The drama unfolded with barely six minutes to end the first half when Bertrand Traore went into a reckless challenge with Anguissa. The referee played advantage to Cameroon but after the ball went out of play, a VAR check was initiated. The Algerian referee after checking from the Video Assistant Referee pitchside monitor had no doubt and called for the spot-kick against Burkina Faso. Caused by one skipper, another skipper, Vincent Aboubakar, stepped up and sent Koffi in the wrong direction to draw Cameroon level in the 40th-minute.
Soon after that incident, involving Issoufou Dayo who also made a poor defensive decision to send Tolo crushing to the ground in the box in first-half added time and the referee pointing straight to the spot. Vincent Aboubakar stepped up again to face Koffi and had the better of the Stallions goalkeeper for the second time.
Neither side could find the back of the net in the second half with Cameroon holding on to secure the first win at the tournament, Burkina Faso will hope to have their team up and ready for the next match against Cape Verde on Thursday. Cameroon will seek to seal early passage into the next round with a win against Ethiopia in an early kick-off on Thursday.