The opening match of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations saw host Cameroon win against Burkina Faso (2-1) on Sunday January 9. At Olembé Stadium, the Indomitable Lions were initially frustrated by the Stallions. But Vincent Aboubakar’s double on penalties gave them a good start.
After a colourful opening ceremony, under the eyes of President Paul Biya among others, the Indomitable Lions launched the big continental meeting against Burkina Faso.
Deprived of five players and their coach Kamou Malo, replaced by his deputy Firmin Sanou, the Stallions were in difficulty from the start. Vincent Aboubakar, after a good movement, unscrewed the first shot (7th), then Karl Toko-Ekambi dribbled past goalkeeper Hervé Koffi but could not frame his shot from his very off-center position (10th).
After this encouraging start, the locals slackened and the visitors took a bite. The Burkinabè scored the first goal of the competition on their third blow, while the Cameroonian defense had repelled the danger twice: at the third center from the feet of Bertrand Traoré, goalkeeper André Onana missed his exit and Gustavo Sangaré took the opportunity at the far post to score (23rd).
Frustrated, poorly applied, the Indomitable Lions came back to life before the break thanks to their hero of 2017, Vincent Aboubakar. Bertrand Traoré pushed André-Franck Zambo Anguissa into the area; Called by his assistants, Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal reviewed the images and awarded a penalty that the Cameroonian captain quietly transformed (39th), in an incandescent atmosphere.
Buoyed by the equalizer and the encouragement from the Stade d’Olembé, Nouhou Tolo entered the box at full speed from the left wing and was tackled irregularly by Issoufou Dayo. This time, the referee did not need to consult the VAR to award a second penalty. And Vincent Aboubakar hit the mark again (45th + 3). This is how Cameroon turned the tide to return to the locker room with the advantage.
In the second half, Bertrand Traoré, captain of the Stallions, threatened André Onana with a free kick. Even at a distance from the net, the Aston Villa player has a good footing, and the keeper had to remain vigilant to push back his shot (47 ‘). In an unbridled match, it was still dominating Cameroon who had the upper hand.
Aboubakar thought he scored a hat-trick, but Moumi Ngamaleu, who had the ball just before, was offside (59th). Zambo Anguissa’s shot grazed the post of Koffi (74th), and Aboubakar missed the frame in a tight angle (77th). Finally, in this fast-paced second period, the nets did not shake.
Cameroon succeeded in entering the contest by obtaining the three points, with the help of its essential striker. An ideal start before facing their next Group A opponent, Ethiopia, still at Olembé Stadium on Tuesday (January 13th). For Burkina Faso, it will be necessary to react the same day against Cape Verde.