THE DAY REPLAYED — Burkina Faso booked their place in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 semi-finals after scoring two late goals in a 2-0 victory over Tunisia to keep their hopes of a first-ever title alive. Cameroon booked their place in the last four by getting the better of Senegal 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless regulation and extra time period.
The day’s results
Burkina Faso 2-0 Tunisia
Senegal 0-0 AET (4-5 on penalties) Cameroon
The Stallions of Burkina Faso left it late in a 2-0 win against Tunisia in Libreville. Paulo Duarte’s side found inspiration off the bench in the form of cult hero Aristide Bance. The Burkinabe striker rifled in a free-kick from 20 yards out in the 81st minute, just four minutes after coming on. Bance was then involved in his side’s second goal when he won a header from a Tunisia corner kick to kick-start a counter-attack.
Tunisia had pushed everyone forward in an attempt to find an equaliser, and Prejuce Nakoulma took advantage. Nakoulma sprinted down the left wing and dribbled around Tunisia ‘keeper Aymen Mathlouthi, who travelled well outside of his penalty area, and scored in an open goal to send a dagger through Tunisian hearts.
Later in the day in Franceville, tournament regulars Senegal and Cameroon played in a hard-fought match with high-quality defending on show. Lazio forward Keita Balde often impressed with skill and tricky on the left for Senegal, with his side having the majority of possession. Cameroon were set up to attack in a more direct fashion and on the counter. Senegal had several chances at the end of regulation but Cameroon’s young goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa was up to the challenge, sending the sides to extra time.
Abdoulaye Diallo then shone for Senegal at the end of the first half of extra time when he made a point-blank save from substitute Jacques Zoua’s shot six yards out. Neither side could find the breakthrough after 120 minutes and the match went to penalties. Both sides were accurate in the shoot-out until Senegal’s fifth penalty-taker, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, had his shot saved by Ondoa. Substitute Vincent Aboubaker scored the winning penalty, sending the Indomitable Lions through and with a chance of securing a fifth title, while Senegal will have to wait for their first Africa Cup of Nations trophy.
Highlight of the day
Burkina Faso’s supporters had been cheering for Bance before he came into the match. His arrival was then met with an approving roar from the crowd, but when the 32-year-old scored the opener moments later, it sent the Burkinabe faithful into raptures.
4 - Bance needed only four minutes after coming off the bench to make an immediate impact. His flick-on won the free-kick that he eventually scored the match winner from, sending the Stallions to the final four.
Sunday, 29 January, quarter-finals
Congo DR – Ghana
Egypt – Morocco
The winners of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 will represent the continent at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.