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First Goal Of AFCON Is A Precise Left-Footed Volley That Stuns Host Nation Cameroon

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations began Sunday with the host nation Cameroon welcoming Burkina Faso to Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, which will also be the site of the final on Feb. 6. 

After an excellent opening ceremony, Cameroon — which has advanced to the final round of CAF World Cup qualifying — went about avoiding a disastrous opening result in front of a boisterous home crowd of 45,000. Burkina Faso has already been eliminated from World Cup contention, but the Stallions drew 2-2 and 1-1 with Algeria (the 2019 AFCON champion) during qualifying, so it was never going to be an easy match for Cameroon.   

The Indomitable Lions started strongly and dictated the tempo of the opening 20 minutes while spending a lot of time in Burkina Faso's third. However, in the 24th minute, the Stallions' first extended period of pressure ended with a goal from Gustavo Sangaré.

The 25-year-old, who plays for Ligue 2 club Quevilly, finished with a perfect left-footed volley off Bertrand Traoré's cross. 

But the Aston Villa forward undid that great assist by taking out André Zambo Anguissa at the other end in the 37th minute. The VAR intervened, the ref looked at the monitor and Vincent Aboubakar converted the penalty to equalize. 

Then, in first-half stoppage time, Burkina Faso gave away another penalty when Issoufou Dayo cleaned out Nouhou Tolo after the Seattle Sounders full back had already crossed the ball. The ref pointed straight to the spot this time, and again Aboubakar converted. 

Cameroon continued to dominate possession but Burkina Faso threatened on the break and finished with more shots on target (six to four). However, the Indomitable Lions saw things through to open the tournament with three points.  

Cameroon is back in action on Thursday, Jan. 13, against Ethiopia. 

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