Saturday Jan 29, 2022. 22:45
Burkina Faso have booked a place in the Africa Cup of Nations semifinals after they defeated Tunisia 1-0 at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua on Saturday night.
Dango Ouattara scored the only goal of the game – and was later sent off – as the Stallions reached the semis for the third time in the last five AFCONs, while the Carthage Eagles struggled to gain any traction and looked a shadow of the team which shocked Nigeria earlier in the week.
After a cagey opening quarter hour, Burkina Faso had the first genuine chance when Edmond Tapsoba’s shot from a free kick deflected off the wall and fell kindly for Cyrille Bayala, but his low effort was no trouble for Tunisia goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said.
Bayala had a far more dangerous moment midway through the first half when he skinned Mohamed Drager down the Stallions’ left before firing a low shot on goal from a tight angle which required a sharp save with his legs from Ben Said.
On 27 minutes it was Tunisia’s turn to threaten in attack, with Wahbi Khazri firing a powerful effort on target direct from a free kick, but Burkinabe goalkeeper Herve Koffi turned the shot over the top for a corner kick.
Burkina Faso continued to enjoy some strong forays and on 40 minutes they created an opening for Djibri Ouattara, but his left-footed volley was comfortably saved by the Carthage Eagles ‘keeper.
The first half looked set to end goalless, but in injury time before the interval the Stallions claimed the lead: Blati Toure played a fine through ball to set Dango Ouattara free down the right flank, before the attacker cut inside of defenders Oussama Haddadi and Dylan Bronn and fired home a left-footed shot.
The West Africans should have doubled their lead six minutes after the restart when a fast-paced counter attack set Bayala free down the right of the penalty area, but his shot from a tight angle was blocked by Ben Said to keep Tunisia in the contest.
The North Africans spurned a great chance to level the game on 57 minutes when substitute Naim Sliti drove a dangerous ball into the box which picked out the run of Khazri, but the attacking midfielder fluffed his attempt to get a shot on target.
Eleven minutes later another Tunisia substitute, Ali Maaloul, had a shot on target direct from a free kick, but Koffi made a diving save to keep Burkina Faso in the ascendancy.
The Stallions were dealt a major blow with just under 10 minutes to play when Dango Ouattara was sent off (after a VAR review) for elbowing Maaloul in an aerial challenge, leaving them a man down and under siege for the remainder of regulation time.
However, the Burkinabe defence stood firm in the face of wave after wave of Tunisian attacks and ultimately held out to seal a place in the final four.
Burkina Faso will go on to face either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea (who play each other on Sunday) in the second semifinal on Thursday 3 February.
Burkina Faso (1) 1 (Da. Ouattara 45+3’)
Burkina Faso: Koffi, Kabore, S. Ouattara, E. Tapsoba, Yago, Guira, Toure, Sangare, Bayala, Da. Ouattara, Dj. Ouattara (Konate 72’)
Tunisia: Ben Said, Drager, Ifa, Bronn, Haddadi (Maaloul 46’), Slimane (Sliti 46’), Skhiri (Rafie 84’), Laidouni, Msakni, Khazri, Jaziri (Jebali 75’)