Hosts Cameroon on Saturday came back from the dead to wrestle the bronze medal from Burkina Faso in a thrilling contest at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.
After going down to three goals, the Lions roared back to 3-3 before nicking the ensuing penalty kick 5-3 to win the thrilling contest.
After failing in their original mission to host and win, many had thought that the Indomitable Lions will be fired up to at least pick up the bronze medal as a consolation since the desirable was now out of reach.
But that was not the case initially as the Stallions appeared to want the bronze medal more and they turned up their game to beat the hosts.
Cameroon had most of the ball in the early few minutes but it was cagey with no clear chances for both teams in the first five minutes.
However, in the eighth minute of the game, Burkina Faso mustered their first attempt but Edmond Tapsoba’s header was off the target.
Tapsoba tried a long-range effort two minutes after but it was an easy catch for the Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana.
Though Cameroon appeared to be dominating the game, the Burkinabes were carving out decent chances of their own and their effort finally paid off just before the half-hour mark when Steve Yago broke the deadlock.
A good cross from the right found its way to the back post and Yago made a late run to fire into the roof of the net and give Burkina Faso the lead.
While this was exactly the scenario that played out when these sides met in the opening game of the Afcon a few weeks back, instead of pulling an equaliser, it was Burkina Faso that doubled their lead.
Isaa Kabore got to the byline on the right and whipped a cross which Cameroon goalkeeper Onana made a complete mess of, spilling it into his own net.
There was a check on VAR to see if the ball had gone out but replays showed it was clearly still in. Burkina Faso, thus, doubled their lead just before halftime.
While one would expect the Indomitable Lions to roar back in the second half, it was Burkina Faso that furthered extended their lead through Dango Ouattarao just five minutes after the restart.
Burkina Faso held on to their 3-0 lead until the 70th minute when the Cameroon revival began and Stepanhe Bahoken pulled one back for the hosts.
Though it was initially looking like Bahoken’s effort was too little too late, the Lions captain, Vicent Aboubakar, rose of the occasion once more scoring quickfire goals in the 85th and 87th minute to make it 3-3.
The game went straight into extra time but this time around, lighting struck the second time as Cameroon prevailed 5-3 on penalties to cart home the bronze medal.
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