Tuesday Feb 01, 2022. 12:00
Burkina Faso will chase an upset win over Senegal when the teams meet in the first Africa Cup of Nations semifinal, set for the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde on Tuesday 2 February 2022, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.
Burkina Faso have been one of the surprise packages of the tournament in Cameroon, ending in the runners-up spot behind the hosts in Group A before seeing off Gabon (on penalties) and Tunisia (1-0, with a goal from Dango Ouattara) in the round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively.
MATCH REPORT: Burkina Faso 1 – 0 Tunisia
MATCH REPORT: Burkina Faso (7) 1-1 (6) Gabon
MATCH REPORT: Cameroon 2-1 Burkina Faso
MATCH REPORT: Cape Verde 0-1 Burkina-Faso
MATCH REPORT: Burkina Faso 1-1 Ethiopia
Yet the Stallions’ progress to this stage is not without recent precedent: in the past nine years, this will be their third appearance in the semis (adding to 2013 and 2017).
And the Burkinabe’s presence at the sharp end of the tournament has an even greater significance given the country’s recent military coup, as explained by coach Kamou Malo.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay homage to the people who despite everything stay strong,” Malo said after their win over Tunisia.
“I would like to believe our team is the mirror image of those people… we will stay strong in spite of everything. We’re going to try to keep making our people happy. We’re in the semifinal and it is a huge bonus… we’ve given a good account of ourselves and I believe we have the means to go further.”
Senegal, meanwhile, have been the perfect example of a team building momentum through the tournament: they scored just one goal in topping Group B, were still lacklustre in overcoming nine-man Cape Verde, but then clicked into the higher gears for a 3-1 triumph over Equatorial Guinea (with goals from Famara Diedhiou, Cheikhou Kouyate and Ismaila Sarr).
That the Teranga Lions still have some room for improvement is good news for coach Aliou Cisse, who remains resolute in his determination to bring the West African nation a first AFCON title.
“We must remember a good victory [against Equatorial Guinea], synonymous with qualifying for the semifinals,” said Cisse.
“We have had a very difficult start to our preparations, but we worked well afterwards and today we are gaining momentum. We must not get carried away because against Burkina Faso, it will be a big battle.”
In head-to-head stats, Burkina Faso and Senegal have met in 12 matches across all competitions, dating back as far as 1987. The Teranga Lions have claimed three wins compared to two for the Stallions, while seven games have been drawn.
The teams’ most recent meetings were in September 2017, as part of World Cup qualification for the following year’s tournament in Russia, with a 0-0 and 2-2 draw in Dakar and Ouagadougou respectively.