Mali led through Sambou Yatabare's 71st-minute goal but New York Red Bulls full-back Ambroise Oyongo hit back for the Indomitable Lions. Yatabare thought he had won it in stoppage time but his header was correctly disallowed for offside.
Finke has purged the Cameroon squad of many of the central figures from last summer's abysmal FIFA World Cup™ showing, opting instead for an injection of youth. The German was without suspended captain Stephane Mbia for this game and surprisingly left Lyon forward Clinton Njie on the bench throughout.
But they threatened for the first time when Eric Choupo-Moting's header was tipped over by Soumbeyla Diakite. The Schalke forward then slashed wide from distance. A Mali break ended with Sako firing at the near post when he maybe should have crossed - Ondoa blocked the effort.
Benjamin Moukandjo headed Edgar Salli's free-kick wide for Cameroon as the half ended goalless. In a low-key opening to the second period, Aurelien Chedjou swung a Cameroon free-kick wastefully over the crossbar and Moukandjo fired across goal.
In between times, Mali could feel they should have had a penalty when Sako appeared to be caught in the box. Oyongo charged down Mustapha Yatabare's shot but Sambou Yatabare soon gave Mali the lead. After winning a free-kick on the left, the Guingamp midfielder waited patiently for Seydou Keita's delivery to drift across the penalty area and drilled a low angled shot through Ondoa's legs.
Substitute Kom suffered the fate of being substituted himself, Franck Etoundi taking his place, before Cameroon finally equalised. Raoul Loe lofted a long ball into the box and Oyongo's run went unchecked as he took two touches before calmly slotting home his first international goal.
It was almost in vain as Ondoa fumbled Keita's free-kick straight to Sambou Yatabare, but the assistant referee had done well to spot the latter moving too soon and the raised flag meant a fifth 1-1 draw in the eight games so far in the tournament.
Côte d'Ivoire settle for point
Côte d'Ivoire had to settle for a point in their opening Group D match after they drew 1-1 with Guinea and finished the game with ten men.
Mohamed Yattara stunned Côte d'Ivoire, who are ranked Africa's third-best side behind Algeria and Tunisia, with his 36th-minute volley before the favourites saw striker Gervinho sent off for hitting Naby Keita in the face. Second-half substitute Seydou Doumbia gave the subdued crowd something to cheer about with his 72nd-minute equaliser, but with a man down, Côte d'Ivoire were unable to go on and claim the win.
Côte d'Ivoire boasted Premier League stars Wilfried Bony, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Cheick Tiote, Roma striker Gervinho and former Chelsea frontman Salomon Kalou in their starting line-up and were expected to claim a comfortable victory against Guinea. However, they fell behind in the 36th minute following Yattara's volley from the left of the area which caught their defence off guard.
Gervinho was sent off for hitting Guinea midfielder Keita in the face in a moment of madness in the 58th minute. The Côte d'Ivoire striker fell to the ground and hit the floor in disbelief after being shown a straight red card, which left his side with an even tougher task to overturn Guinea's lead. Until that point, Gervinho had been Côte d'Ivoire's biggest threat thanks to his pace.
He put Guinea under pressure early on when he raced down the left on the counter-attack and pulled the ball inside. It was played back to him in a one-two but his shot struck the crossbar and was cleared by the Guinea defence.
The former Arsenal striker went close again from inside the six-yard box shortly after only to be shut down by Guinea goalkeeper Naby-Moussa Yattara . Gervinho was again on hand to receive the ball in a dangerous area in the 34th minute but Naby-Moussa Yattara got down to make an excellent save from close range.
Guinea then stunned Côte d'Ivoire as Mohamed Yattara scored two minutes later after the favourites failed to close him down in defence. The Lyon striker volleyed the ball past Sylvain Gbohouo from 12 yards to put Guinea ahead and silence the crowd.
Bony went close to finding the equaliser early in the second half after he received the ball on the left of the box and with an instinctive movement turned and pulled the trigger, only for his shot to be put over the bar thanks to a hand from Naby-Moussa Yattara.
Yaya Toure delivered the resulting corner and the Guinea defence scrambled the ball away before the Manchester City midfielder tried a shot from just outside of the box in the 55th minute after linking up with Gervinho but dragged his effort wide.
Soon after, Côte d'Ivoire were correctly reduced to ten men when Gervinho lashed out and struck Keita in the face and the back of his head in an off-the-ball clash, seemingly suggesting that the Guinea midfielder had stood on his foot.
Côte d'Ivoire got back on level terms, though, in the 72nd minute when Yaya Toure found Bony on the edge of the box, who chested the ball down and set up substitute Doumbia. The CSKA Moscow striker slid the ball into the bottom left corner from the middle of the box to level the match with just over 15 minutes left to play.
However, despite creating more chances, Côte d'Ivoire were unable to find the winner, with the match instead going down as a missed opportunity.