Cameroon maintain 33 year record as they beat Burkina Faso in AFCON opener; Cape Verde beat Ethiopia

Cameroon relied on two penalties to rally and win Africa Cup of Nations opener vs. Burkina Faso. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Cameroon has maintained its unbeaten streak in Yaounde for 33 years as Captain Vincent Aboubakar converted two penalties it came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Yaounde on Sunday.

Burkina Faso, who were without their coach Kamou Malo and six players who tested positive for COVID-19, gave away two clumsy penalties after Gustavo Sangare had silenced the home crowd, estimated at around 45,000 fans at the newly-built Olembe Stadium, with the first goal of the game.

ESPN reports that The Burkina Faso Football Federation issued a formal letter to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) ahead of the match in a protest over alleged issues with its COVID-19 testing program. Captain Bertrand Traore told ESPN he believes the situation is a “scandal.”

Traore lunged clumsily to catch Andre Zambo Anguissa in the 37th minute but it was only given as a penalty after the Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal had checked with VAR.

The referee, however, had no hesitation about awarding the second as Dayo’s scything tackle took out the feet of Nouhou Tolo as the first half went into stoppage time.

Burkina Faso’s goal came after a rare error from Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana, who recently returned from a nine-month drug ban, as he came out and missed Traore’s cross, allowing Sangare to finish expertly at the back post.

Meanwhile, Cape Verde beat 10-man Ethiopia in their Africa Cup of Nations also played on Sunday night.


ESPN reports that Striker Julio Tavares headed home the winner as Cape Verde Islands shrugged off their COVID-19 woes to beat 10-man Ethiopia 1-0 on the opening day of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

Tavares forced home a diving header after a superb cutback pass from Garry Rodrigues on the stroke of half-time at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde as the Cape Verdians joined hosts Cameroon on top of the Group A standings.

Cape Verde were forced to start the match without coach Bubista, in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, and had just six substitutes on the bench, with a further nine players isolating, and two injured.

But Ethiopia made their task easier when defender Yared Bayeh was sent off after 10 minutes. He tripped Tavares from behind with the Cape Verde striker bearing down on goal and the Angola referee Helder Martins, having initially cautioned Bayeh, changed his mind after reviewing his decision on the pitchside VAR screen.

Ethiopia gamely fought on despite the disadvantage of being a man down and looked to be taking a psychological boost into the break by managing to hold Cape Verde at bay, before Tavares’ brave finish from close range.