Both players, and their countries got off to lacklustre starts in the first round of the competition. Traore gave a great assist, but tended to be mistake prone. Trézéguet played well, but never really had any great spells. Neither player had a full 90 minutes, with Trézéguet being subbed off in the 58th minute. The Egypt game followed an unsettling trend in AFCON so far, being the 7th game in a row with one goal or less.
Cameroon 2 - 1 Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso failed to upset the hosts in the opening game of the tournament. Star-man Tapsoba missed out, having tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Cameroon looked dominant from the start, controlling the majority of the game. Burkina Faso's formation originally reported by broadcasters as a 2-4-3-1, ended up actually being a 4-2-3-1, with Traore playing in the RM role. He consistently tucked in and played centrally, as he struggled to find much success out wide.
Burkina had a short period of good attacking play around the 20 minute mark, with a header from Traore being cleared off the line. Burkina then took a surprising lead in the 24th minute from a superbly whipped in ball from Traore, to the back post. Cameroon's first goal came from a poor foul from Traore in the box, allowing Cameroonian captain Aboubakar (Pictured Right) to convert. After this Burkina Faso didn't ever really look like getting back into the game. Traore created a chance with a low freekick in the second half, but it came to nothing. Cameroon played longballs with some success, whereas all Burkinabe moments of joy seemed to come from quick counter attacking football.
In the end Bertrand struggled to really make his presence felt, passing accurately, but not really advancing play effectively. He lost possession 16 times, the second most on the pitch. Despite a wonderful assist, Traore's overall play was not fantastic. The sudden momentum the team seemed to build up after the first goal was lost, with Traore's reckless tackle and the resulting converted penalty.
Traore Player Rating - 6.5
Next Game - 13 January. Cape Verde
Cape Verde had a surprise win against 10-men Ethiopia. Although Burkina Faso are still considered favourites against Cape Verde, who many predicted to come last in a competitive Group A. Cape Verde faced Ethiopia without manager Bubista, and a further 11 players missing (9 isolating, 2 injured), permitting them only to have six subs on the bench.
Nigeria 1 - 0 Egypt
A poor game for Egypt, who failed to show any of the supposed momentum they had coming into the tournament. The Nigerian team missing Osimhen and Ighalo, still looked dominant in attack. Nigeria took the lead in the 30th minute, with a superb top corner strike from Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho. Egypt rarely looked like scoring, and star-man Mo Salah had a disappointing game. He managed just one shot on target. His only real chance on goal was ruled unfairly offside.
Trézéguet played as a RCM, in a 4-3-3. Being utilised in a much deeper position than he often features for Villa. He had a decent first half, struggling at times with Nigerian midfielder Moses Simon's pace off the left. He did not have what could be considered as an impactful performance, offering little noteworthy play. Egypt and Trézéguet looked as if they might dominate in the second half, but this momentum quickly fell away. Trézéguet was subbed off early, in the 58th minute for Zizo. He had a much better game than Trez, looking dangerous up the right flank. It must be said that Zizo was deployed in a much more attacking role than Trez.
Trez Player Rating - 6.5
Next Game - 15 January. Guinea-Bissau
Egypt face Guinea-Bissau in the second round of the tournament, Bissau failed to score in their 0-0 draw with Sudan. This leaves Egypt bottom of group D. Guinea-Bissau played well defensively, with good performances from the whole backline. If Trézéguet does start the next game at RCM again, he won't be hoping for a repeat performance from Guinean LM Moreto Cassama, who was the stand out player in the draw.
Burkina Faso Group Games
Egypt Group games
Thu 13 Jan. 7pm. Cape Verde
Sat 15 Jan. 7pm. Guinea-Bissau
Mon 17 Jan. 4pm. Ethiopia
Wed 19 Jan. 7pm. Sudan