Five-time champions Cameroon came from behind, in front of a sizable crowd present at the Olembe Stadium, to defeat Ethiopia 4-1 on Thursday.
Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored twice, taking his tally for the tournament to four with Karl Toko Ekambi adding two strikes to ensure the hosts will progress from Group A.
It was an action-packed opening ten minutes as round two of games began. Ethiopia raced into an early lead just four minutes in when Dawa Hotessa finished off a lovely passing move to break the deadlock, but Cameroon were not behind for long, as Collins Fai’s cross was met by Ekambi for the leveler.
The two early goals scored meant a game, other than the opening fixture, will be producing more than a goal. This particular game was filled with end-to-end stuff as the quality of play looked better than the previous games seen in the finals.
A missed host of chances from either side left the scoreline levelled after the first 45mins. The second half continued in the same line as the first and Cameroon took charge after Hotessa’s shot went high over the bar. in the 53rd minute, the hosts took the lead as Aboubakar headed home from another scintillating cross from Fai and less than two minutes later, the skipper finished expertly to put the game beyond Wubetu Abate’s men.
Ekambi, who scored the equalizer, grabbed his brace with an emphatic finish after Teklemariam Shanko had denied him twice to round off the game.
The result leaves the ‘Indomitable Lions’ top of Group A with six points from two games and guaranteed a place in the round of 16 while Ethiopia became the first side to be eliminated from the tournament in Cameroon.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso defeated Cape Verde 1-0 in the group’s other game to have hopes of reaching the second round.
The Stallions began well forcing Vozinha into a number of early saves with Gustavo Sangaré coming close with a whipped freekick, while Boureima Hassane Bandé’s close-range effort was pushed away to safety by the Cape Verde shot-stopper.
However, with a bit of improvisation, Hassane Bandé was able to convert a cross from Issa Kabore with his chest to hand his side a well-deserved lead.
FULL-TIME! ⏰#TeamCapeVerde 0️⃣-1️⃣ #TeamBurkinaFaso— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 13, 2022
Bande scored in the first half to snatch a hard fought victory for Burkina Faso! 💥
#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | #CPVBFA pic.twitter.com/KNI9gUeYYf
Despite missing captain Bertrand Traoré, the 2013 AFCON runners-up kept their cool in the latter stages of the game as the Blue Sharks could not find a way back into the game. The victory takes the ‘Stallions’ to second in Group A, while Cape Verde remained on three points as well going into the final round of games.
Photo Credit: AFP