AFCON: Cameroon, Burkina Faso secure safe passage into knockouts

Cameroon and Burkina Faso are the two teams to make it to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) knockout stages from Group A.

Cameron and Cape Verde in action during their AFCON encounter. (Twitter: @CAF_online)

The first entrants into the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) knockout stages were decided on Monday (January 17). Cameroon and Burkina Faso qualified out of Group A and into the knockouts.

Both teams did so courtesy of 1-1 draws. Cameroon drew against Cape Verde whereas Burkina Faso drew against Ethiopia.

However, while Cameroon had registered two wins prior to this, Burkina Faso qualified by the skin of their teeth. Cape Verde had the same number of points as them, as well as the same goal difference.

But it was Burkina Faso who made it into the next round due to the fact they scored one more goal. It was indeed the tightest of margins for them to qualify.

All hope is not lost for Cape Verde, however. They can still qualify for the next round as one of the four best third-place finishers. But they will ony know their fate in the coming days.

For Ethiopia, the draw against Burkina Faso was the first point they collected in the tournament. They had lost both previous encounters and were all but out of contention for the next round.

The draw does, however, ensure they exit the tournament with a modicum of respect. Few would have expected them to even secure a point, but they did so in the end.

AFCON: how Group A was decided

Cameroon looked like they would be easing to a win at one point. Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored his fifth goal of the tournament to give them the lead in the 39th minute.

But half-time substitute Garry Rodrigues equalised for Cape Verde in the 53rd minute. His goal was quite the sight too; a back flick that few saw coming.

“It was a difficult opponent who made things tough for us,” Aboubakar told reporters after the match.

“It was difficult to win although we wanted to finish with a 100% record. But we must not be negative about it because we are through.”

Cyrille Bayala’s first-half goal was enough to get Burkina Faso the point they needed to make it into the next round. For the most part, it seemed like the 2013 runners-up had done enough to get the win.

However, Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede converted an 82nd minute penalty that gave the side their sole point of the AFCON 2022.

It was just reward for the Ethiopians, who put in a much better shift defensively in this match.

Burkina Faso will face the runners-up of Group C in the next round. That could be either of Morocco, Gabon or Ghana.

Sportslumo Desk

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