The Swallows of Burundi recorded their first ever Orange African Nations Championship victory with a 3- 2 win over fellow debutants Mauritania at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane on Saturday 18 January. A stunning left foot strike on 90 + 4 minutes by team captain Ndikumana Selemani broke the Mauritanian hearts.
The pulsating match with end to end action and kept the appreciative Polokwane spectators on the edge of their seats and it had it all, missed penalty great saves , glaring misses, great goals and prolific individual skills.
Ely Cheikh Voulany kept the CHAN 2014 pattern of early goals going with a strike after fifty -two (52) seconds when he worked his way from the left flank, got into the box and beat goalkeeper Arthur Arakaza at his near post. It took Burundi nine minutes to find the equaliser with a well taken header from Man of the Match Abdoul Fiston. Burundi could have extended their lead after 23 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Selemani found Fiston with a delicate pass and the latter played Claude Narusanze through but he was brought down in the box. Selemani's spot kick was saved by Brahim Souleymane in Mauritanian goal.
Fiston was running the show, mesmerising the opponents with sublime skills and almost gave Burundi the lead with a fine shot that was saved by the keeper. Fiston picked up from where he left in the second half and on 60th minute skillfully discarded his markers before setting Christophe Nduwarugira to shoot low past the diving keeper. The see-saw battle ensued with both sides playing an open game much to the delight of the fans.
Mauritania hit back on 69th minute with yet another fine piece of play. A lovely ball was crossed into the box and Mohamed Taghiyoullah headed in the second after substitute El Mamy Traoré had set him up with a diagonal header. It was heading for a deserved draw for the two sides until Selemani atoned for his penalty miss with the superb strike good enough to win any match. The win puts Burundi on four (4) points same as Gabon . DR Congo has three (3) points and the debut CHAN finals for Mauritania (still pointless) end after their final group match against Gabon on Wednesday 22nd January at Free State stadium in Mangaung.