6 February 2013

Ghana/Burkina Faso: Shock for Black Stars As Burkinabe Head for Afcon Final

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
Man of the match, Aristide Bance of Burkina Faso, scored one of his side's goals and one of their penalties in the shoot-out.

Nelspruit — Burkina Faso overcame a controversial refereeing decision and the odds to book an unlikely place in the African Nations Cup final after edging Ghana on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's semi-final at the Mbombela Stadium.

But their joy was tempered by a red card to influential attacker Jonathan Pitriopia that they say they will appeal in a bid to get it overturned.

He was sent off near the end of extra time for a second caution for an alleged dive in the penalty area and will miss the final unless Burkina Faso's protest to the Confederation of African football proves successful.

Burkina Faso add had a soft penalty awarded against them as early as the 13th minute but came back from a goal down to hold Ghana to a 1-1 draw and then win 3-2 in the post-match shootout.

They will play in their first ever final, against Nigeria at Johannesburg's Soccer City on Sunday.

Burkina Faso's dream run include eliminating defending champions Zambia, finishing top of Group C and then beating Togo in extra time in Sunday's quarter-final before Wednesday night's triumph at the Mbombela Stadium.

In one of their the most thrilling matches at the tournament to date, the Burkinabe fought their way back and might have finished winners had it not be for some profligate shooting.

Aristide Bance equalised in the second half after Mubarak Wakaso had scored for Ghana from the spot in the 13th minute.

It was his third successful penalty of the tournament but awarded after an innocuous-looking challenge from fullback Mady Panandetiguiri on Ghana's Christian Atsu in the penalty area.

But a key tackle in midfield from Florent Rouamba turned over possession and allowed Bance to place the ball wide of goalkeeper Fatau Dauda for a 60th-minute equaliser.

Bance also had two efforts cleared off the line and missed two gilt-edged chances as the game flowed from end to end. He was named man of the match.

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan hit the woodwork and missed with two glancing headers that might have turned the game back Ghana's direction.

But Burkina finished stronger and the fans' firm favourites in a remarkable display of tenacity and mental strength as they tired after the exertions of the last fortnight.

The penalty shootout saw Ghana miss first to hand the advantage to Burkina Faso but it was back at 2-2 after three kicks each.

Then Emmanuel Clottey missed, Bance scored with a cheeky chip and a save from Daouda Diakite sealed Burkina's final place.

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