The host nation had the better of a cagey opening, with Jean Onana proving the main threat in the absence of Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi. The midfielder saw an effort denied by Soufian Farid Ouédraogo’s face, before he failed to keep a dangerous header on target. The ‘Stallions’ were providing an increasing threat though, and it was their full-backs who combined to open the scoring. Issa Kaboré’s cross met the arriving Steeve Yago, who provided a sublime finish as he kept his half-volley on target to beat André Onana.
Kaboré then added a second before the break in truly bizarre circumstances. His cross from the byline was fumbled into the net by André Onana, but play stopped, presuming the ball had gone out before it was delivered. A VAR review confirmed the goalkeeper’s blushes and left Cameroon with an uphill task after the interval.
Despite the introduction of tournament top scorer Aboubakar at the break, there was further misery in store for the Cameroonians as they conceded a third moments after the restart. Bertrand Traoré’s pinpoint cross was turned in at the near post by Djibril Ouattara to seemingly wrap the game up for the ‘Stallions’. Cameroon did manage a consolation goal, as Stephane Bahoken took advantage of a goalmouth scramble to fire home from close-range.
Aboubakar all-but ensured he would end this AFCON as top scorer, nodding a corner home and sparking late panic amongst the Burkina Faso players. Cameroon’s captain wasn’t finished there, as he remarkably completed the comeback in the dying embers, after another blunder from Soufian Farid Ouédraogo gave the forward a tap-in.
Remarkably, penalties would decide this breathtaking encounter. At 2-2 in the shootout, Ibrahim Touré’s spot-kick was denied by Onana, sealing his side’s fate as they remarkably squandered a three-goal lead to miss out on a bronze medal for the second time in three AFCON tournaments.
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