The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon came from one goal deficit to record a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso in the opening match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament played at the Paul Biya stadium in Olembe, Younde, on Sunday.
The hosts required two first half penalty kicks converted by their captain Vincent Aboubakar to claim all three points in the Group A encounter with country’s President Biya and new FACAFOOT President Samule Eto’o both in attendance.
Cameroon’s sluggish start to the game despite having the first shot at goal was punished by Burkina Faso in the 24th minute through Gustavo Sangare who converted Betrand Traore’s cross at the far post to silence the home crowd.
The Stallions of Burkina Faso, however, lost their head in the face of increased pressure from Cameroon’s dangerous attack and conceded two cheap penalty kicks in the last seven minutes of the encounter.
The first required a long VAR check for Traore impeding Zambo Anguissa and Aboubakar coolly slotted into the bottom corner to reawaken the crowd.
Cameroon has not lost to Burkina Faso at AFCON and the hosts completed the turnaround with the second penalty deep in added time of the first period.
The Al Nassr striker again sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to net his 27th international goal and give Cameroon a 2-1 lead they did not relinquish in the second half.
Cyrille Bayala was denied by Andre Onana as Burkina Faso went close to an equalizer early in the second half but Antonio Conceicao’s Indomitable Lions wasted several opportunities to increase their margin of victory.
Cmeroon, who suffered a last-16 exit at the hands of Nigeria at Egypt 2019, take all three points and are top of the Group A while the Burkinabe are at the bottom with no point. Both countries play their next games on 13 January, the hosts meeting Ethiopia while Burkina Faso will face Cape Verde.