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Cameroon pull dramatic comeback against Burkina Faso to win Africa Cup of Nations third place

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Skipper Vincent Aboubakar scored two late goals as Cameroon staged an extraordinary comeback from three down against Burkina Faso to level the match and win third place on penalties at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.

Both teams went into the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde hoping to make amends for their semi-final disappointments.

While the Stallions fumbled 3-1 to Senegal, the Indomitable Lions lost 3-1 to Egypt on penalties after the scores stood at 0-0 after extra time.

Despite a bright start by the hosts, it was the West Africans who took a shock lead in the 24th minute through Steeve Yago, whose half-volley from Issa Kabore’s well-taken cross beat goalkeeper Andre Onana.

That goal woke the five-time African champions from their slumber, but while trying to restore parity, it was Burkina Faso who added the second two minutes before the half-time break.

Kabore’s harmless cross was fumbled into the net by Onana. Cameroon players protested claiming the ball had gone out of play. Nonetheless, the goal stood after referee Redouane Jiyed consulted VAR.

Knowing that they would have an arduous task to level matters, Aboubakar was introduced for Samuel Gouet early in the second half.

Even at that, it was more worries for Toni Conceicao’s Lions as they leaked the third goal four minutes after the restart courtesy of Djibril Ouattara – who headed Bertrand Traore’s glancing cross into the net.

While Burkina Faso fans were already jubilant thanks to their three-goal advantage, Cameroon did the unthinkable.

The tournament hosts put together a thrilling recovery in the final 20 minutes to force a draw and go on and win the third-place playoff game 5-3 in the resulting penalty shootout.

Cameroon pulled a goal back in the 71st minute through Stephane Bahoken in a melee following a corner before Aboubakar took advantage of two goalkeeping howlers to score twice in the space of two minutes in the 86th and 87th.

That goal saw Aboubakar equal Patrick M’Boma’s Cameroon goal mark to become the country’s third-leading scorer in football history.

Next up was the shootout to determine the winner. There, Onana went from villain to hero by stopping Ibrahim Toure’s kick, thus denying Kamou Malo’s men a chance of returning home with the bronze medal.

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