local soccer 14.1.2017 11:25 pm

Burkina Faso peg back Cameroon

Aristide Bance (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Aristide Bance (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Cameroon deservedly took the lead through Benjamin Moukandjo’s sublime free kick, but were made to pay for a poor miss from winger Clinton Njie as Burkina Faso’s Issoufou Dayo headed in a 75th minute equaliser.

This was, overall, a far higher quality encounter than the earlier 1-1 draw between Gabon and Guinea-Bissau, with both sides playing some excellent football in patches.

Star names like Joel Matip and Allan Nyom may well have had good reasons for deciding they didn’t want to play for Cameroon at this tournament. But all seven of those who chose club over country must have felt a tinge of envy as the Indomitable Lions produced a superb first half performance in Libreville.

Burkinabe veteran Jonathan Pitroipa did have the ball in the back of the net in the early stages, after a brilliant piece of control and a volleyed finish, an offside flag stopping short his celebrations.

It was Cameroon, however, who made most of the running, showing off some scintillating skills.  Winger Christian Bassogog twisted and turned his man inside out, before firing a low shot into the side netting.

The Indomitable Lions were not to be denied and took the lead as their captain, Benjamin Moukandjo, curled a superb 35thminute free kick into the top corner of the net.

Burkina Faso almost equalised immediately but Bakary Kone’s back post header was, somehow, kept out by an Indomitable Lions defender.

Marseille winger Clinton Njie was next to surge forward, producing a lovely piece of skill and then firing in a shot that was kept out by Koukakou Koffi at his near post. Koffi had to be even better minutes later, rushing off his line to tackle Bassogog, who broke the offside trap and was bearing down on goal without a defender in sight.

Burkina Faso’s Chelsea and Ajax winger Bertrand Traore had a good chance at the start of the second half, picking up on an errant pass and running at goal, but his shot was weak and easily pushed away by Joseph Ondoa.

Koffi then made another outstanding save to keep out Jacques Zoua’s powerful effort, while Njie really should have netted the rebound, but skewed his shot badly wide.

Burkina Faso began to threaten as coach Paulo Duarte made a change, bringing on Banou Diaware for the rather ineffective Bertrand Traore. And the Stallions had a good chance as Patrick Malo headed over Sibiri Traore’s corner.

From another delivery, they were more fortunate, however, Dayo heading home from close range.

Burkina Faso next play hosts Gabon on Wednesday in Libreville while Cameroon face Guinea-Bissau at the same venue.

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