Captain Vincent Aboubakar scores a number of penalties as the hosts come from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1.
Host Cameroon made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, beating Burkina Faso 2-1.
Cameroon came from behind at the end of the first half with two penalties in the span of eight minutes to beat Burkina Faso in the opening match on Sunday.
Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored both penalties and slid the first to the right of the goal and the second to the left to complete a return that left home fans sighing with relief.
Cameroon waited for a three-year delay to host this Africa Cup of Nations after being stripped of the 2019 tournament and then saw their 2021 offer delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Burkina Faso were the first to score at Olembe Stadium Yaounde, with Gustavo Sangare scoring a net in the 24th minute.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS ☝️ 📖
🇨🇲 Vincent Aboubakar is the first player to put a thread in a #TotalEnergiesAFCON opener since 🇦🇴 Flávio Amado and 🇲🇱 Seydou Keïta in 2010! 🔝# TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | # AFCON2021 | #SpanKameroen pic.twitter.com/AL0StXoTNO
– # TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 @ (@CAF_Online) 9 January 2022
He scored after Burkina Faso had a header swept off the line and hit the crossbar in the same move.
But Burkina Faso lost the lead with two pieces of defense at the end of the first half.
Bertrand Traore beat Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to give Cameroon their first penalty, which was only confirmed after referee Mustapha Ghorbal of Algeria consulted VAR.
VAR is used for the first time in all matches at the Africa Cup of Nations. It has been used since the quarter-finals at the last Africa Cup of Nations.
Shortly afterwards, Issoufou Dayo missed a sliding dive to the detriment of Nouhou Tolo and Aboubakar recovered from the spot three minutes after the first half’s injury time.
Burkina Faso threatened a return in the second half when Traore tested Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana with a free kick from distance and Adama Guira then saved an attempt by Onana, but the home side held on.
The Africa Cup of Nations officially started with a short opening ceremony a few hours earlier at the Olembe Stadium.
Coronavirus restrictions limited the crowd at Olembe Stadium to 80 percent of its 60,000 capacity, but it did not spoil the party for the hosts and festive fireworks lit up the air after the match.
The match and opening ceremony were attended by Cameroon’s 88-year-old President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country in Central Africa for 40 years, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the head of the Confederation of African Football, Patrice Motsepe.
The Cape Verde Islands and Ethiopia will play in the second Group A match at the Olembe Stadium later on Sunday.