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Burkina Faso leave it late to knock Tunisia out of AFCON 2017

Aristide Bance

Photo by Aminah Babirye

Burkina Faso scored two late goals to become the first team to advance into the semifinal of the  2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Each side made one big change from the group stage matches. Alain Traore was left on the bench for Cyrille Bayala while Tunisia had Abdenour at leftback in place of Ahly’s Ali Maaloul.

There was good attacking plays at the start but no meaningful chances were created. Tunisia’s attack was, as expected, spearhead by Sliti and Msakni.

It was Burkina Faso who breached the opponent’s defence first. Sassi was dispossessed and from the mistake Bertrand Traore put Nakoulma through on goal. But the big striker shot over the post with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Tunisia’s first got a go on the Burkina defence courtesy of a Khenissi header. His miss was almost punished in the 22nd minute when Burkina Faso got a one-on-one with Mathlouthi again.

Nakoulma beat two challengers on the right to create a scoring opportunity that was wasted by Bertrand Traore. The Chelsea loanee turned well inside the box but couldn’t keep his looped ball on target.

This was an alarm Bell to Tunisia, who finished the half strongly. First, the Black Stallions goalkeeper had to come out to clear with his feet, a chance created by the Sliti-Msakni combo. Ben Amor then sent a wicked shot wide around the half hour mark.

Second half started with a chance for Khenissi. The Tunisia Ligue 1 top scorer finally managed to get his header at goal on target but only straight to the keeper.

Having struggled to maintain possession in the first half, Duarte’s men were doing well to control the match. The created half chances to go along with this improvement.

A lull in Tunisia’s game forced the hand of the technical bench and Wahbi Khazri was taken off for Hamza Lahmar, in a like-for-like substitution.

It was Burkina Faso’s substitution that bore fruit though. Aristide Bancé scored in the 80th minute through a grass cutter of a freekick.

He almost had a brace one minute later but his placed shot came off the side bar.

The Black Stallions sealed a semifinal appearance with a second goal in the 85th minute. Tunisia, who sent almost everyone for a corner, were caught out by a Nakoulma solo counterattack. The burly striker ran the length of the pitch, beat Mathlouthi and shoot onto an empty net.

Burkina Faso now await another North African side between the winner of Morocco and Egypt. The two face off tomorrow, in the last AFCON 2017 quarter final match, from 9pm CLT.

I have dedicated part of my time in this bad world to following African football. From CECAFA to WAFU, COSAFA to UNAF & even the forgotten UNIFFAC.

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