30 January 2012

Sudan/Burkina Faso: Desert Hawks in First Afcon Finals Win in 42 Years

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Davies Nkausu of Zambia engages in acrobatics to keep the ball from Sudan's Tahir Mohamed, in white.

Sudan clinched their place in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso in their final Group B clash in Bata on Monday.

It was the first finals win in 42 years for the country, but the long wait will be forgotten tonight as they celebrate having edged Angola into third place in the pool on goal-difference.

To qualify, Sudan needed to win and for Cote d'Ivoire to beat the Angolans. This duly happened, with a 2-0 success for the Ivorians in Malabo.

Sudan will now face Group A winners Zambia in the quarter-finals on Saturday, a game they might look at and feel is very winnable. Suddenly, from nowhere, they could reach the latter stages of this tournament.

Their hero on Monday night was forward Mudather Tayeb, who scored a goal on either side of half time, both from defensive errors, before substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo pulled a goal back late on for the Burkinabe.

Burkina Faso were denied what looked a certain penalty in the first half when the lively Jonathan Pitroipa, excellent all night, was blocked off in the penalty area, but Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane waved to play on.

Sudan were ahead on 33 minutes as Tayeb collected the ball some 40 yards from goal. Burkina Faso defender Mamadou Tall, who had played him onside, lunged in for the challenge but missed the ball and the forward was able to close in on goal and easily beat Daouda Diakite.

Pitroipa had a chance to level just before the break, but his shot was weak, with just Akram El Hadi Salem in the Sudan goal to beat.

Burkina Faso substitute Ouedraogo had two excellent chances to score in the second half. Pitroipa set him free in the first and with just Salem to beat, he put the ball wide.

On the second occasion he was again played into space and this time rounded the keeper, but with defenders scrambling back, he skied his shot over the bar with the goal gaping.

Just before Ouedraogo's second effort, Sudan had drawn further ahead as a result of a another defensive calamity for the Burkinabe.

Diakite dallied in clearing a long punt downfield, hoping the ball would enter his penalty box so he could pick it up. But before it did, Tayeb nicked in and rounded him, providing a neat finish for his second goal.

Sudan were just about home free by now but there was still time for late drama. A free kick was played into the box, Salem came for it and completely missed, allowing Ouedraogo to head home.

That was virtually the last kick of the game. Sudan's celebrations were muted at the final whistle as they waited to hear from Malabo. When news of Angola's defeat came through, it was smiles all round.

More on This

Slim Hopes for Sudan Against Burkinabe

Sudan would have to end a 42-year winless streak in the African Nations Cup finals in their match against Burkina Faso… Read more »

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