6 February 2013

Ghana/Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Beat Ghana to Reach First Ever Afcon Final

Burkina Faso reached their first ever final after beating Ghana 3-2 on penalties in a pulsating semi-final match played Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit had ended in 1-1 . It was a gutsy performance by Burkina Faso who now meet Nigeria in Sunday's final leaving Ghana to play Mali for third and fourth place on Saturday.

The Stallions had the lion's share of clear-cut chances and seemed determined to make history and make the final. Black Stars were forced into an early change after John Panstil limbed off with what looked like hamstring problem. Ghana drew first blood striking early in the match when Mubarak Wakaso converted a penalty in the 13th minute after defender Mady Panandetiguiri tangled with Christian Atsu in the box. Wakaso notched his fourth goal of the campaign to leave him as the current tournament top goal scorer.

Burkina equalised 60 minutes into the game and a really tough contest ensued until..... The early goal stung Burkina Faso into action and Jonathan Pitroipa begun orchestrating moves from the midfield running at Ghana defence and often times requiring two men to stop him. When he got through his pin -point passes found strikers mainly Prejuce Nakoulma who with more accuracy could have pulled Burkina Faso back in the game. Burkina Faso thought they had got a spot kick when Pitroipa picking up a cut back from Nakoulma came together John Boye. Burkina then bossed the game right up to half time .

Nakoulma muscled his way past the centre backs but with the goal at his mercy he blazed his effort over the bar. Ghana were just hanging on as Burkinabe peppered their goal.Just before the break substitute Solomon Asante's goal bound shot inside the box was deflected for a corner after some good work on the left flank by Gyan. The end to end goal mouth action continued and Bance went agonisingly close to an equaliser were it not for a superb save from Fatawu Dauda who clawed the header away from underneath the bar. The pulsating half came to an end .Dauda and his defenders had a busy night keeping the score line at 1-1. Ghana's Harrison Afful cleared off the line from Bakary Kone header as Burkina Faso pelted the Ghanaian goal Burkina begun the second half as they ended the first taking the game to Ghana and dominating possession and crafting the clearer chances with Aristide Bance, Pitroipa a constant menace to the opposition. But against the run of play Gyan almost increased Ghana's lead only to see his shot come off the post as Ghana sought to counter Burkina's dominance. Burkina's response almost immediately brought them an equaliser. Bance capitalised on a defensive blunder to shoot past Daouda Diakite from a distance after 60 minutes on the clock. Bance had a great chance to score his second for Burkina Faso after outpacing the Ghana centre backs but once again his shot sailed over the bar as Ghana looked shell shocked and like a tired boxer were just hanging on. In extra time Bance continued to be a major threat to Ghanaian defenders and right at the end of extra time brought down a long ball, shook off the fenders but failed again to hit the target and it was penalty shoot-out time. Burkina Faso were then reduced to ten when Pitroipa received a second yellow card in the second period of extra time. Ghana's Badu, Wakaso and Gyan went close in the later stage of the game as the match opened up with both sides searching for the winner. And so to penalties it went, with Ghana's Isaac Vorsah missing the first one. Burkina Faso scored through Bakary Kone, Henri Traore and Aristide Bance while Paul Koulibaly had his spot kick saved. Ghana's Emmanuel Clottey and Emmanuel Badu missed to hand victory to Burkina Faso. Paul Put's side progress to their first final appearance but will play without two of their influential player in Alain Traore and Jonathan Pitroipa. Ghana's wait for a fifth African title continues.

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