Hassane Bande and Dango Ouattara struck in the second half as Burkina Faso beat Cape Verde 2-0 in their opening Group B match of the qualifiers for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations played in Marrakech, Morocco, on Friday.
The victory takes the Burkinabe, fourth place finishers as this year’s Cup of Nations, top of the group after match day one with a maximum three points.
In a tight and closely contested affair, the tie was settled by a pair of headers in the second period. There were few and far in between opportunities in the first half.
Cape Verde had a good go at goal in the 16th minute when a good run on the right bore an inviting cross into the box.
Gustavo Sangare picked the ball inside the box, faked a shot to sweep away his markers, but his eventual effort at goal was blocked by his own teammate Edmond Tapsoba who was flagged down for offside anyway.
The Burkinabe had to make a change on the half hour mark when Tapsoba was substituted off after picking an injury and was replaced by Bande.
The substitute made his mark in the second half when his neat header off an Ouattara cross from the right bounced into the net after 58 minutes.
The Burkinabe continued their dominance and had more chances with substitute Cedric Badolo having a shot blocked inside the box.
They however wrapped up the game when Ouattara registered a goal to his name with two minutes left, sneaking in a header at the near post after running to an Issa Kabore cross from the right.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.