Defending champions Cameroon started their title defense on a high, hitting Guinea Bissau 2-0 in their Group F opening match in Ismailia on Tuesday night.
In the last AFCON edition in 2017, six of Cameroon’s seven goals were scored after the 59th minute and that tradition seemed to continue as second-half goals from Yaya Banana and substitute Stephane Bahoken saw them pick their first three points of the campaign.
On the balance of chances, the Indomitable Lions, who are seeking a sixth African title should have been ahead by halftime.
Christian Bassogog had the first chance after just seven minutes when he raced to a looped ball from deep in midfield but his left footed shot from inside the box went over. In the 20th minute, they had their first shot on target when Michael Ngadeu’s header off an Eric Choupo Moting cross went straight to the keeper.
Four minutes on the turn, the holders had another close opportunity when Andre-Franck Anguissa was picked out with a little cutback from the left but he placed his shot wide.
Cameroon continued pressing and had a clear chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark but Anguissa missed a sitter. Karl Toko Ekambi made a good run on the left before cutting back a cross, but Anguissa placed his shot wide with the keeper off his line.
The Indomitable Lions were using the long balls from midfield planted behind the defense to try and open up for a goal. They had another scoring chance off this tact when Ekambi looped the ball into the box to find Bassogog, but the latter fired over.
Guinea Bissau had two chances in the half, first Judilson Gomes’ shot from distance flying just above the target while Juary Soares’ overhead kick looped over.
In the second half, Clarence Seedorf’s men were off to a powerful start and got their opening goal in the 66th minute, Banana bouncing a header at the back post off an Ekambi corner. They doubled their tally just three minutes later, Bahoken slamming the ball home just two minutes after coming on.
A clearance off a cross hit Guinea Bissau defender Sory Mane and the ball fell kindly on Bahoken who beat the keeper from close range. Cameroon’s next assignment is against Ghana on Saturday.
Total Man of the Match: Andre Franck Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon)