Aboubakar brace fires Cameroon to victory over Burkina Faso at Cup of Nations

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Cameroon skipper Vincent Aboubakar converted two penalties on Sunday night as the hosts came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Burkina Faso, shorn of five players due to the coronavirus, took the lead mid way through the first half with a clinical strike from Gustavo Sangare.

The 25-year-old volleyed home Bertrand Traoré's cross from the right to notch up his first international goal on his eighth appearance.

Cameroon president Paul Biya and his compatriots in the Olembé stadium were stunned into silence. And their heroes were unable to muster any palpable response to their misfortune.

Return

But as the half drew to a close, Burkina Faso hit the self-destruct button.

Traoré inexplicably body-checked Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in the penalty area.

Referee Mustapha Ghorbal consulted with the video assistants before awarding the penalty.

Aboubakar stepped up and tucked away the penalty low to the left of the Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi.

And in stoppage time Issoufou Dayo mistimed his challenge on Nouhou Tolo to concede another penalty.

Aboubakar rammed his second spot kick to Koffi's right to register his 27th international goal.

Thirteen minutes into the second half, it would have been 28. But the video referees said Nicolas Ngamaleu had strayed offside before firing the shot at Koffi which ricocheted off Aboubakar and into the net

Nerve

Cameroon managed to hold on their advantage as fatigue hit Burkina Faso.

"There's a lot of quality in the team and I believe in it," said Aboubakar who was deemed man-of-the-match. "We stayed solid after we went ahead and we got through with the win."

His Burkinabe counterpart Traoré conceded his team had failed to hold its nerve.

"We didn't handle our advantage very well. But ultimately we played a good match against a strong team that was playing in front of its president and its people.

"We have got to get over this defeat and get ready for the next match."

That clash on Thursday night at the Olembé Stadium will be against Cape Verde - 1-0 winners over Ethiopia on Sunday evening.

Cameroon will have the chance to qualify for the last-16 knockout stages should they overcome Ethiopia in Thursday's afternoon kick-off.

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