Cameroon and Algeria faced frustration: Afcon overview

Photo of Cameroun vs GUINEA IN AFCON 2023.

Cameroon experienced a 1-1 draw against a resilient 10-man Guinea in their inaugural Africa Cup of Nations match in Yamoussoukro. Guinea claimed an early lead through Mohamed Bayo’s goal, but captain François Kamano received a red card in first-half stoppage time following a VAR review for stepping on Frank Magri’s foot. Magri’s header leveled the score six minutes into the second half, but despite their efforts, Cameroon couldn’t clinch a win against Guinea’s well-organized defense.

In a preceding game, the defending champions, Senegal, secured a 3-0 triumph over the Gambia, positioning them at the summit of Group C.

Cameroon, lacking their injured captain Vincent Aboubakar, initiated the game with Fabrice Ondoa in goal due to travel disruptions caused by unfavorable weather conditions for his cousin André Onana. Onana had flown in from Manchester on a private jet but encountered additional delays, leading to his exclusion from the match squad.

Guinea, without Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy, surprisingly took the lead in the 10th minute. Cameroon’s midfielder Olivier Kemen lost possession on the edge of the penalty area, allowing Le Havre forward Bayo to slot the loose ball past Ondoa.

The Indomitable Lions, champions of Africa five times, sought a swift response as captain Frank Anguissa headed wide at the far post. Guinea’s defender Sekou Sylla attempted a long-range shot to catch Ondoa off guard, but the back-pedaling Nimes keeper was relieved to see the ball drop onto the roof of the net.

However, Guinea found themselves reduced to 10 men in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Kamano received a red card following the incident involving Magri.

Cameroon equalized six minutes into the second half when Magri rose at the back post to head in Georges-Kévin Nkoudou’s deep cross from the left. Just after the hour mark, Guinea’s midfielder Aguibou Camara broke clear on the right but was brought down by Cameroon defender Harold Moukoudi, who received a yellow card.

Cameroon pushed for a late winner, with Nkoudou’s header narrowly missing the target, and Guinea’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Koné making a crucial save from Karl Toko at point-blank range as the 10 men held firm. In the first Afcon match of the day, Lamine Camara’s two goals helped Senegal secure a successful start to their title defense against a 10-man Gambia.

Algeria, former champions, gave away a penalty in the second half, resulting in the underdog Angola securing a 1-1 draw in the opening Group D match. This prolonged Algeria’s streak of not achieving a win in the finals since their championship victory in 2019.

Despite Baghdad Bounedjah providing the Algerians with a lead in the 19th minute through a skillfully executed goal, their prospects were hindered by subpar defending. Nabil Bentaleb’s foul led to a penalty, which Angola’s substitute Mabululu successfully converted in the 68th minute. Algeria’s quest for a win persists, marking four consecutive matches without a victory at the Cup of Nations finals since their success in Cairo.

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