Cameroon Vs Ethiopia 13-01-22 5pm
Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosts Cameroon were not convincing in their opening Group A match, requiring two quickfire penalties from Vincent Aboubakar to beat Burkina Faso to rack up a fifth straight win. However, this appears to be an easier test on paper, with Cameroon’s next opponents Ethiopia lying 77 places below the Burkinese in FIFA’s rankings.
Encouragingly for them, Cameroon are unbeaten in nine AFCON finals games against opposition ranked lower at the time (W4, D5 - 90 mins). That run extends all the way back to 2010, but in a warning against complacency, just one of those wins saw a 2+ goal margin.
Additionally, no host has ever lost a ‘matchday two’ fixture (W10, D5) under AFCON’s modern four-team group format (1996-present). Seven of the last 13 games during that sequence produced a goalless second half, while the last four all saw matching results at half-time and full-time.
Ethiopia’s 46-year wait for a first AFCON finals victory never looked like ending in the other Group A opener. Their 1-0 defeat to Cape Verde saw them land no second-half shots on target after an early red card, for a third straight loss ‘to nil’ at the AFCON tournament proper.
In any setting, the 137th-ranked ‘Walias’ remain bereft of a 21st-century win over any CAF nation currently lying inside FIFA’s top 50, and so many expect a landslide loss for Ethiopia here, though their last defeat by a margin of three or more goals dates back to October 2018.
Hot stat: Seven of Cameroon’s last eight wins overall have seen them lead at half-time.
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