As day one of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is a wrap, we recap all the action, featuring hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, and Ethiopia.

Group A:

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations has commenced with an action-filled clash as hosts Cameroon came face to face with Burkina Faso at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.

Cameroon XI: Onana, Onguene, Ngadeu, Tolo, Fai, Anguissa, Oum Gouet, Kunde, Ngamaleu, Aboubakar, Toko Ekambi.

Burkina Faso XI: Koffi, Malo, Yago, Dayo, Kabore, Toure, Guira, Bayala, Sangare, Traore, Tapsoba.

Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal took charge of the game and had a busy day, showing three yellow cards, awarding two penalties, while disallowing a goal.

Burkina Faso were without their coach Kamou Malo and six players who tested positive for COVID-19 but still managed to impose their playing style and took an unexpected lead after 24 minutes.

Aston Villa’s Bertrand Traore sent in a cross, which Onana failed to punch away for Gustavo Sangaré to tap in with his left foot at the back post, scoring his first-ever international goal.

Cameroon refused to enter the half-time break behind on the scoreboard and after a clumsy tackle from Traore on Zambo Anguissa, they were awarded a penalty after the intervention of the VAR.

Experienced striker Vincent Aboubakar stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 1-1.

A few minutes later and just before the half-time whistle, Cameroon managed to win another penalty after Tolo was brought down by Dayo. Once again it was Aboubakar who took the penalty and he easily gave his side the lead.

Aboubakar thought he completed his hattrick in the 59th minute, but after a long pause the VAR ruled out the goal for the game to end in a 2-1 victory for the hosts.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)

Three hours after the game and at the same stadium, Ethiopia took on Cape Verde in a game in which the loser will most probably exit the competition from the group-stages.

Ethioipa XI: Shanko, Suleman Hamid, Seyoum, Baye, Yusef, Mohammed, Yohanis, Dagnachew, Gebremichael, Kebede, Nasir.

Cape Verde XI: Marcio, Fortes, Lopes, Stopira, Fortes, Borges, Santos, D. Tavares, Rodrigues, J. Tavares, Monteiro.

Ethiopia, one of the founding members of CAF, and the winners of the 1962 edition are only participating in the competition for the second time in the last 40 years, while all three of Cape Verde AFCON appearances have all come since 2013.

Wubetu Abate, manager of Ethiopia, couldn’t ask for a worse start to the game after Yared Bayeh saw his yellow card changed red following a VAR review for his tackle on Julio Tavares, who was through on goal.

Nonetheless, ten-man Ethiopia still managed to hold Cape Verde and came so close to entering the half-time break with an equal scoreline, until Julio Tavares came to haunt them once again.

Tavares, who piles his trade for Saudi side Al-Faisaly, found the back of the net after meeting Garry Rodrigues’ flicking cross with a powerful header, which was enough for the Blue Sharks to snatch the win.

The win marks Cape Verde’s only second in their history in the Africa Cup of Nations as they now sit level on points with hosts Cameroon at the top of Group A.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Kenny Santos (Cape Verde)

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