Host nation Cameroon kicked off the Africa Cup of Nation with a 2-1 win over Burkina Fason on Sunday afternoon, while Cape Verde beat a 10-man Ethiopia in the evening kick-off.
Cameroon 2-1 Burkina Faso
Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored a brace of penalties as hosts Cameroon came from behind to beat Covid-ravaged Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Yaounde on Sunday.
Gustavo Sangare had given Burkina Faso the lead in the Group A match at the Olembe Stadium, but Aboubakar equalised from the spot five minutes before the interval after a VAR review.
The 29-year-old then scored what proved to be the decider in first-half stoppage time and he was only denied a hat-trick by an offside flag after the break.
It is the perfect start for the Indomitable Lions as they seek to win their sixth continental title on home soil, with Cameroon finally getting to host a tournament that was taken away from them and given to Egypt in 2019 before being postponed a year ago due to the pandemic.
Covid restrictions limited the crowd at the Olembe Stadium to 80 percent of its 60,000-capacity, but that did not spoil the party for the hosts and celebratory fireworks lit up the sky at full-time.
Ethiopia 0-1 Cape Verde
Julio Tavares scored the winner as Cape Verde began their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 victory on Sunday over Ethiopia who played most of the game with 10 men.
The Saudi-based striker headed Cape Verde ahead in first-half stoppage time in Yaounde after Ethiopia had defender Yared Bayeh sent off with just 12 minutes gone.
Cape Verde, whose three Cup of Nations appearances at have all come since 2013, won for just the second time at the tournament and sit level on points with hosts Cameroon at the top of Group A.
Ethiopia faced an increasingly uphill challenge after Bayeh’s yellow card was upgraded to red following a VAR review for his tackle on Tavares as the Cape Verde player ran through on goal.
Teklemariam Shanko produced a brilliant save to claw the ball to safety after Ethiopia defender Mignot Debebe diverted a cross towards his own goal.
Cape Verde made their extra man count late in the first half as Garry Rodrigues hooked a cross back towards goal where it was nodded in from close range by Tavares.
An inspired Shanko kept Ethiopia in the game with a string of stops, but they created little in attack to trouble Cape Verde and already look set for an early exit with games to come against Cameroon and Burkina Faso.