Burkina Faso secured a place in the knockout stages at the Africa Cup of Nations after a first-half goal from Cyrille Bayala helped them to a 1-1 draw with Ethiopia and second place in Group A at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam.
Bayala netted midway through the opening period but his goal was cancelled out by an 82nd-minute penalty by Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede which earned his side their only point of the tournament.
Hosts Cameroon finished top with seven points followed on four by Burkina Faso, who edged Cape Verde Islands into third spot on the head-to-head rule. The latter now face an anxious wait to see if they are one of the four best third-placed sides to advance.
Ethiopia are eliminated but will be pleased with a much better defensive performance, while 2013 finalists Burkina Faso have a lot to improve on if they are to go deep in the tournament.
Burkina will face the runners-up in Group C in the next stage, which will be either Morocco, Gabon or Ghana, though most likely one of the latter two.
The worry for coach Kamou Malo will be how his side were second best for much of the game on Monday against a side they would expect to beat.
Goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo, who was in the Burkinabe team after usual No 1 Herve Koffi tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, had to twice make excellent stops to deny Kebede.
But it was the west Africans who took the lead with a goal that was simple in its creation.
Adama Guira’s long ball was chased by Bayala, who outstripped the defenders and lobbed advancing Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko with a tidy finish.
That was as good as it got for Malo’s men, and Ethiopia were level seven minutes into the second period after they were awarded a spot-kick for Steeve Yago’s handball from a corner.
The decision was made on review and was the correct one. Kebede arrowed his penalty into the bottom corner to draw his side level.
Burkina Faso must wait to discover their next opponents. They are due to play the runner-up from Group C and will meet one of Morocco, Gabon or Ghana in Limbe this coming Sunday.