Burkina Faso came from behind to hold Cameroon to a 1-1 draw in their Group A clash on Saturday in Libreville.Captain Benjamin Mounkandjo gave Cameroon the lead in the first half before Issoufou Dayo levelled for the Burkinabes midway in the second half.Unlike the opener between host Gabon and debutants Guinea Bissau, both teams started on a promising note with the pendulum swinging from one end to the other intermittently.
The decision by Cameroon coach, Hugo Broos, to leave seasoned players such as forward Vincent Aboubakar and defender Nicolas Nkoulou on the bench appears to have paid results.The likes of Ernest Mabouka, Adolphe Teikeu, micahel Ngadeu and especially Christian Bassogog prove that their places in the starting line-up were not out of place. Bassogog, who plays for Danish side, Aalborg, made the first attempt at goal with a shot that missed narrowly.
Few minutes later, Bassogog again earned the plaudits of the fans with a swift turn that left his marker, Patrick Malo, chasing his shadows, but Burkina Faso goalie Kouakou Koffi saved the situation for his side.
On 35 minutes, Mounkandjo broke the deadlock with a curling shot from a free-kick that went into the far corner of the net, leaving Koffi with no option.
The Indomitable Lions almost doubled the lead just before the break after a long pass pass found Bassogog, who raced towards goal, but Koffi this time was up to task as he disposed him of the ball.
Moments into the second half, Clinton Njie should have doubled Cameroon’s lead after Koffi had spilled Jacques Zoua’s long drive his way. The Olympique Marseille winger shot wide with only Koffi to beat.
Midway, ‘Les Etalons’ began to find their rhythm and their quest for the equalizer was aided by the introduction of Jonathan Zongo. The equalizer did come on 72 minutes through defender Issoufou Dayo who scrambled home, capitalising on a poor defending by the Cameronian backline from a resulting free-kick.
The Burkinabes pressed for the winner in the closing stages but the Cameroon backline remained resolute, as the game ended one-all, to keep the group open after hosts Gabon and Guinea Bissau share honours in a similar manner.
Head coach Hugo broos in his post match press conference said “Cameroon was ready” and says they lions dominated the game and created more chances but lack the finishing edge. he caution that they will need to play same way to qualify for the quarter finals.