Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes played the full 90 minutes as Cape Verde began their African Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win against 10-man Ethiopia.

Lopes - who qualifies to play for Cape Verde through his father - is the first ever Irish-born player to feature at the AFCON.

Striker Julio Tavares headed home the winner as the Blue Sharks shrugged off their Covid-19 woes to start with a win in Group A.

Tavares forced home diving header after a superb cutback pass from Garry Rodrigues on the stroke of half-time at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.

Cape Verde were forced to start the match without coach Bubista, in quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, and had just six substitutes on the bench, with a further nine players isolating, and two injured.

But Ethiopia made their task easier when defender Yared Bayeh was sent off after 10 minutes.

He tripped Tavares from behind with the Cape Verde striker bearing down on goal and the Angola referee Helder Martins, having initially cautioned Bayeh, changed his mind after reviewing his decision on the pitchside VAR screen.

Ethiopia gamely fought on despite the disadvantage of being a man down, and looked to be taking a psychological boost into the break by managing to hold Cape Verde at bay, before Tavares' brave finish from close range.

Cape Verde are next in action against Burkina Faso on Thursday 13 January.

Earlier in the same group, captain Vincent Aboubakar converted two spot-kicks as hosts Cameroon came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match of the tournament.

Burkina Faso, who were without their coach Kamou Malo and six players who tested positive for Covid-19, gave away two clumsy penalties after Gustavo Sangare had silenced the home crowd, estimated at around 45,000 fans at the newly-built Olembe Stadium, with the first goal of the game.

Sangare finished with his left foot at the back post in the 24th minute to hand the Burkinabe a surprise lead in the Group A encounter but then their captain Bertrand Traore and defender Issoufou Dayo gave away penalties in quick succession.

Aboubakar, who was part of Cameroon's winning team at the 2017 Cup of Nations in neighbouring Gabon, tucked away both kicks with aplomb.

Vincent Aboubakar slots home Cameroon's second goal from the penalty spot.