Cameroon rally to win Africa Cup of Nations opener Football News

Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored a penalty as the hosts beat Burkina Faso 2-1 from behind.

Hosts Cameroon beat Burkina Faso 2-1 to secure a victory in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Cameroon fell behind with two penalties within eight minutes of the first half, beating Burkina Faso in their opening game on Sunday.

Captain Vincent Aboubakar made two free throws and calmly scored the first to the right of the goal and the second to the left to complete the comeback, much to the relief of the home fans .

Cameroon, after being disqualified from the 2019 tournament, has seen their 2021 stage delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, thus delaying hosting the Africa Cup of Nations for three years.

In the 24th minute, Burkina Faso took the lead at the Orembe Stadium in Yaounde, with Gustavo Sangare scoring a goal.

He scored after Burkina Faso’s header and hit the crossbar in the same move.

But Burkina Faso lost the lead at the end of the first half with a two-game losing streak.

Bertrand Traore broke in and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa gave Cameroon their first penalty, which was confirmed after Algeria’s referee Mustapha Ghorbal consulted with VAR.

Cameroonian forward Vincent Abubacar (centre) is tackled by Burkina Faso defender Steve Yago [Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP]

VAR was used for the first time in all African Cup matches. It has been used since the quarter-finals of the last African Cup of Nations.

Shortly after, Issoufou Dayo fouled Nouhou Tolo with a misplaced sliding tackle and Aboubakar scored again from the penalty spot after three minutes of injury time in the first half.

Burkina Faso threatened a second-half comeback as Traore tested Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana with a free-kick, Adama Gila then tried to be saved by Onana but the home side held on .

A few hours ago, the African Cup officially kicked off with a brief opening ceremony at the Orembe Stadium.

Traditional dancers perform at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Africa Cup of NationsArtists perform traditional dances at the opening ceremony of the African Cup of Nations [Themba Hadebe/AP Photo]

Coronavirus restrictions limited crowds at Orembe Stadium to 80% of its 60,000 capacity, but that didn’t spoil the hosts’ party, with post-match celebratory fireworks lighting up the sky.

Cameroonian President Paul Biya, 88, who has ruled the Central African country for 40 years, was present at the game and the opening ceremony, along with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe.

Cape Verde Islands and Ethiopia will play their Group A second game at the Olembe Stadium later on Sunday.

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