The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon came from a goal down to beat Mali 2-1 in their Group A opener on Saturday.
The fierce encounter saw both teams creating chances in the opening minutes, with Fatoumata Doumbia and Fatoumata Diarra close to scoring for the Malians.
Cameroon had chances of their own, but poor finishing was their bane as the first half ended goalless.
The second half produced much excitement for the fans as the game wore on. Cameroon had the better of the exchanges upon resumption, and mounted more pressure on Mali to get the opener.
However against the run of play, it was the Malians who scored the opener in the 52nd minute.
Aissata Traore broke the deadlock from a swift counter-attack from a defensive position through the flanks for Fatoumata to set Traore who scored.
Cameroon responded with the equalizer in the 67th minute through Meffoumetou Tcheno from a goal mouth melee.
One soon became two as Nchout Njoya scored the second goal after she lashed on a beautiful cross from Marlyse Ngo Mbeleck.
Cameroon thus join hosts Ghana at the summit of Group A table on three points.
Total Woman of the Match: Marlyse Ngo Ndoumbouk (Cameroon)
Houssein Saloum (Head Coach, Mali)
“It was a tough game as expected and both teams gave it their all and I am sure the fans were excited about it. Indeed, the first half ended goalless and we changed our formation in the second half and it helped us to get a goal.
We lost concentration and Cameroon got the equalizer and another goal within five minutes. We regrouped and fought to reclaim at least a point, but that did not happen.
We have to work on our mistakes before we meet host nation Ghana on Tuesday.
The game against Ghana will not be easy as they are the hosts, but we will map out a strategy in training and work hard to get a win in our next game.”
Joseph Brian Nkodo (Head Coach, Cameroon)
“We are happy with the scoreline because it wasn’t an easy game. Mali is a good side and we knew before the game that it was going to be tough.
When we conceded the goal against the run of play, we still knew that we had something in it and we pressed and managed to get both the equalizer and the match winner.
We play our next game on Tuesday against Algeria, a team that lost this afternoon against Ghana. It will be another tough game and we are looking forward to it.
I want to thank congratulate my girls for exhibiting a fighting spirit throughout the game and that is how we want to be known throughout the tournament.”