4 February 2013

Burkina Faso/Togo: Pitroipa Extra Time Goal Sends Burkina Faso Into Last Four

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Komlan Amewou of Togo battles with Jonathan Pitroipa of Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso's fairy tale at Orange Africa Cup of Nations continues with The Stallions now set to play Ghana in the semi-final of Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013 after dismissing Togo 1-0 in extra time during a pacey and competitive match at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit

Jonathan Pitroipa who had been at the heart of most of his team's attacks rose brilliantly at the near post to head in the only goal of the match from a Charles Kabore corner after 105 minutes. The goal came right on the stroke of the end of the first period of extra-time.

Over 90 minutes the two sides traded chances like a pair of unyielding boxers but neither side could break the deadlock. As expected it was a physical contest where every ball was fought for and inevitably the caution count was high. Burkina Faso started more offensively and tested the Agassa Kossi in goal for Togo when Mohamed Koffi shot from a distance but the keeper was equal to the task. Burkinabe captain Mounouni Dagano was then played through by Jonathan Pitriopa and his timely cross was swept away by Abdoul Mamah with Wilfred Sanou waiting to pounce.

Togo who were contend to soak up the pressure from the opposition to begin with captain Emmanuel Adebayor leading the charge. Togo turned the defence approach into attack as the game grew older and an open match ensued but the quality in the final third could have been better. The match ended goalless and the players returned for extra time which produced end to end stuff as both side knew a goal might just be enough to win the contest.

With their noses in front Burkinabe went for protection of their precious lea and scorer Pitroipa made way for defender Florent Rouamba. Togo went in search of an equalizer and poured forward as the momentum changed as it was time for e Burkinabe defence to attempt to shut shop. Koffi, Komlan Awewou put in shift under pressure from Togo's Emmanual Adebayor, Floyd Ayite and Serge Gakpe.

Adebayor picked up an incisive through ball and accelerated towards goal but Burkinabe defender Bakary Kone managed to play the ball out for a corner. Kone who be involved in a battle with Adebayor for the greater part of the night with the defender making sure the striker would not add to his tally at the 2013 finals.

18 minutes into the game Togo could have taken the lead after some lovely inter-play ended up with Burkinabe defence carved open and striker Floyd Ayite found himself inside the penalty area but he fluffed his shot with the goal at his mercy.

Burkinabe responded with Issouf Ouattara ghosting in to a promising position in Togolese box but his header from a Wilfried Sanou cross sailed wide of Agassa's goal. Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite was called upon to make saves and keep his side in the game as the regulation time ended with attacks from both sides.

The Burkinabe side who just about shaded the possession and perhaps created chances too found the extra edge through play maker Pitroipa the difference at the end of the night. Burkina Faso will stay in Nelspruit to meet Ghana in a semi-final to be played on Wednesday 6th February.

Burkina Faso versus Togo : quarter final post match reaction

Paul Put: Burkina Faso coach

" Congratulations to my players all l asked of them was to make it to the semi-final and l am happy because they have fulfilled my wish. During the extra time l was worried about our prospects but with confidence and commitment we managed to get something extra and we scored the goal. Looking ahead we will go into the semi-final with confidence and Mbombela is our home, so everything is possible . We have a lot of supporters here in Nelspruit and we are pleased to be here."

Didier Six: Togo coach

" At this level of competition no team all sides still around are good and we came up against a well organised side. We tried hard under difficult circumstances and we are disappointed to we didn't win today . It is disappointing result tonight but we also have to recognise that by playing this match Togo has qualified to the quarter final stage for the first time ever at AFCON, so we did our best"

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