Cameroon overcame a late deficit to share the points with 10-man Guinea in a 1-1 draw in their opening Group C match of the AFCON 2023 on Monday,
The initial Group C match saw holders Senegal handily defeat Gambia 3-0; this was followed by a stalemate at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in the Ivorian capital.
After Guinea had taken the lead with Mohamed Bayo in the tenth minute and had captain Francois Kamano sent off, Franck Magri levelled early in the second half.
Cameroon were without Andre Onana in goal but he did arrive ahead of the game after starring for Manchester United in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
After some horrifying defence by the Indomitable Lions, Guinea was given a lucky lead.
After Bayo’s initial shot at goal was parried away by custodian Fabrice Ondoa, there were two chances to clear the ball but under pressure the Cameroon defence botched their efforts and centre back Olivier Kemen ended up kicking the ball back towards his goal and into the path of Bayo, who need no second invitation to finish from close range.
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou’s free kick in the 13th minute gave Cameroon a quick equaliser, but Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa squandered an excellent chance at the back post.
However, as halftime approached, their hopes were increased when Kamano was sent for challenging Magri from behind
He was given a warning at first, but it was modified to a red card when the referee was told to check his call using VAR.
With a man advantage, Cameroon controlled the second half’s attacks. Nkoudou’s cross to the back post gave Magri the equaliser in the 51st minute, and despite Antoine Conte of Guinea’s attention, Magri soared high to head home.
Karl Toko Ekambi was denied by an incredible stop by Ibrahim Kone, which kept Cameroon in the game.
In addition to Onana, Cameroon omitted Vincent Aboubakar, the injured captain, who is currently recuperating from a thigh injury sustained during practice last week.
Due to injury, Serhou Guirassy, the striker for Guinea, who has scored 17 goals for VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga this season, was also unable to play, leaving captain Naby Keita on the bench.