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Football

Cameroon off to a flier with Burkina Faso victory – Sportsleo

Vincent Abubakar steps up to score his penalty against Burkina Faso

Cameroon beat Burkina Faso in AFCON

Captain Vincent Abubakar scored a brace of penalties as hosts Cameroon began their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations AFCON campaign with a 2-1 beat Burkina Faso at the Stade Olembe in Yaounde on Sunday evening.

In a dramatic first half, Gustavo Sangare gave the Burkinabes the lead, but Cameroon fought from a goal down with Abubakar scoring the first of his two penalties from the assistance of the Vide Assistant Referee while the second was a stone wall kick.

Sangare broke the deadlock in the 24th minute to stun a packed Olembe Stadium, including Cameroonian president Paul Biya.

The midfielder volleyed the ball home at the back post after Bertrand Traore recycled the ball from the right, finding him unmarked.

It was a crazy one minute for the Burkinabes with Traore having seen his header from a corner cleared off the line before he picked the ball again and sent it cracking against the crossbar before it eventually found Traore again on the right.

While Cameroon were stunned, Burkina Faso played with more confidence and dominated possession well.

However, they found themselves losing their single goal advantage four minutes to the break when Franck Zambo Anguissa was hauled down inside the box by Traore.

Initially, the referee had waved play on but once the review was done by VAR, used for the first time ever in the group stages of the competition, the centre official was referred to the pitchside monitor.

After review, he awarded a penalty which Abubakar tucked home with ease.

Cameroon beat Burkina Faso in AFCON

Vincent Abubakar steps up to score his penalty against Burkina Faso

Four minutes later, Cameroon would win another penalty, this time defender Isssoufou Dayo being guilty of a poor foul inside the box. Abubakar stepped up once again and sent the ball straight down the middle as the home side went to the break with a one-goal cushion.

The Stallions began the second half with vigour and determination to score and Traore came close with a freekick from range which keeper Andre Onana fisted away.

Onana made a superb block a few minutes later when Traore’s low freekick into the box was deflected to Adama Guira’s path, but the defender’s fierce shot couldn’t go past the Cameroonian goalkeeper.

On the hour mark, Abubakar thought he had completed his hattrick and taken the victory safer into Cameroon’s hand, but the on-field offside decision was upheld by VAR.

The referee had to refer upstairs after the Cameroonian skipper had kneed the ball into the net in reacting to the keeper’s save from Moumi Ngamaleu’s shot. However, the defender was adjudged to have taken the shot from an offside position.

Cameroon made offensive changes, Malong Kunde and Carl Toko Ekambi being rested for Clinton Njie and Eric Maxim Choupo Moting. Njie almost made an immediate impact with his first touch of the ball off a volley from inside the area, but it went just wide.

In the 73rd minute, Anguissa came close again for Cameroon with a stinging low shot from inside the area, but it took the slightest of deflections to take it inches wide off target with the keeper well beaten.

Despite Burkina Faso throwing everything at Cameroon to try and tie the game, Cameroon, backed up by a noisy stadium just but managed to hold on for a positive start to the tournament.

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