Africa Cup of Nations 2021 summary


Everyone’s favorite tournament in the middle of the season is back – AFCON 2021 (2022) is up and running!

While Covid-19 is threatening to drop its troops and force outfielders to play in goal (yes please), the tournament started in Cameroon on Sunday, with the hosts among the first teams to launch their campaigns.

So while Liverpool draw in draws and losses for their usual AFCON-induced malaise, let’s see what happened on opening day …

Cameroon opened AFCON with victory / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / GettyImages

The hosts Cameroon had to come from behind to kick off their home tournament with a win against Burkina Faso in Group A.

The guests came into the match as big underdogs – not least after six players and head coach Kamou Malo tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days – but took a shocked lead in the first half through Gustavo Sangare.

Bertrand Traore selected the midfielder to finish at the far post to put Burkina Faso ahead at the newly built Olembe Stadium, but Cameroon managed to turn the game upside down with two penalties before the break.

Aston Villa man Traore was judged by VAR to have obstructed Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and Vincent Aboubakar made no mistakes from the pitch to even procedures.

The Al-Nassr striker doubled his lead from 12 yards in the first half stoppage time with Issoufou Dayo fouling Nouhou Tolo, and the Indomitable Lions survived an attack in the second half to score the first three points of AFCON 2021.

Elsewhere in Group A, Cape Verde managed to keep 10-man Ethiopia at arm’s length and chalk up their first win of the tournament.

With just seven minutes on the clock, Yared Bayeh cynically dropped Julio Tavares on the edge of his own area, and received a yellow card from referee Helder Martin’s Rodrigues de Carvalho.

But after a VAR check that lasted almost five minutes, Bayeh’s booking was upgraded to a red card and he was dismissed.

After that, it would always be an uphill for Walia Ibex, and they went almost at half time on equal terms with the Blue Sharks.


In stoppage time, Garry Rodrigues managed to pick up a meandering ball from the air and back over the goal in one move for Tavares to head home the match’s only goal.

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