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AFCON 2021: Olivier Mbaizo starts, Cameroon wins third place game with stunning comeback

Mbaizo returns to the Philadelphia Union with a bronze medal

FBL-AFR-AFCON-2021-2022-BFA-CMR Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Philadelphia Union defender Olivier Mbaizo finally got a chance to start for Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations and though it was merely a consolation match he ended up being part of a thrilling and unlikely comeback.

Playing for third place against the other semifinal loser Burkina Faso, the prospect of at least getting a medal for the host Indomitable Lions looked completely out or reach when Burkina Faso took a 3-0 lead in the 49th minute on a Djibril Ouattara goal Mbaizo could’ve done better to defend. The Stallions struck first through Steve Ago in the 24th minute and doubled their lead after a cross inadvertently bounced off the Cameroon keeper and went in

Cameroon got a life line when Stéphane Bahoken pulled a goal back in the 71st minute and Vincent Aboubakar, the tournament’s leading goal-scorer, did the rest to send the game straight to penalties after the 90 minutes blew.

After scoring his seventh and eighth goals of the tournament in the 85th and 87th minutes, Aboubakar got Cameroon going in the penalty shootout they would eventually win 4-2 to capture third place in the competition.

The appearance was only the third for Mbaizo in the tournament and his first start. He played 90 minutes and recorded 58 touches, 5 crosses, a 77.8% pass completion, 1 clearance and 3 tackles. His other two appearances in the tournament were only four and seven minutes long.