Burkina Faso advanced to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations as they defeated Tunisia 1-0 in an end-to-end encounter in Garoua.
After an open 45 minutes, the Stallions took the lead with the last kick of the first-half, courtesy of a fine individual effort from Dango Ouattara to grab his first international goal.
Blati Toure slid the ball through to the youngster with an expertly weighted through ball and Ouattara did the rest. After making a 20-yard run into the box, the attacker checked back before firing in a shot into the bottom corner.
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AN HOUR AGO
Tunisia had the better of the second half in terms of chances, with the best opportunity falling to Wahbi Khazri in the 54th minute, but the attacker could not connect cleanly with a volley in the six-yard box from Naim Sliti's cross.
Burkina Faso were then left to play the last seven minutes with ten men, as Dango Ouattara was sent off for an elbow on Ali Maaloul after the referee upgraded his initial yellow card for the forward to a red following a VAR check at the pitchside monitor.
The Stallions held on to secure their passage to the last four of the tournament, where they will play either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea for a place in the final.

TALKING POINT - VAR plays its part again

Once again, two big calls were referred to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) during the course of an AFCON match, and both incidents were important in the context of the game. One of them went in Burkina Faso's favour, and the other did not.
The first incident saw Wahbi Khazri wriggle his way into the box, but the ball was taken off him with a good challenge by Soumailia Ouattara. However, Khazri was caught badly with the follow through from the tackle, with the referee being told by the VAR to go to the monitor to watch the replay. Ouattara got the ball, and the collision between the two was unfortunate. The decision to award the penalty was not given in the end, to the Stallions' relief.
Then, for the second call, Dango Ouattara caught Ali Maaloul with an outstretched elbow in a 50/50 duel, which looked to be without intent on first viewing. Ouattara was initially booked for it, but seconds later, the referee was once again referred to the monitor.
In what was a controversial call that left Burkina Faso in the lurch as they tried to see out a 1-0 win, the yellow card was upgraded to a straight red. That decision now leaves Burkina Faso light in attacking options for their semi-final clash.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Gustavo Sangare

Burkina Faso's Gustavo Sangare

Image credit: Getty Images

This open game had a lot of action, so it could've been easy to miss out Sangare's level of performance, but the 25-year-old, who plies his trade in Ligue 2 in France with Quevilly-Rouen, put in a good effort for his country.
In total, the right winger made two dribbles and won four of his five tackles (80% success rate).
There were many players this award could have gone to in the Burkina Faso team, including Edmond Tapsoba, who was for the most part, solid at the back. Djibril Ouattara was also a candidate, as he proved to be a handful for the Tunisian back-line with his directness on the break. However, despite being a little under the radar, Sangare edges it.

PLAYER RATINGS

Burkina Faso - Koffi 6, Kabore 6, S. Ouattara 7, Tapsoba 7, Yago 7, Guira 6, Toure 7, Sangare 7, Bayala 7, Dango Ouattara 7, Djibril Ouattara 7. Subs: Konate 6.
Tunisia - Ben Said 7, Drager 6, Bronn 6, Ifa 6, Haddadi 6, Laidouni 6, Skhiri 6, Slimane 6, Msakni 7, Jaziri 5. Khazri 7. Subs: Rafia 6, Jebali 6, Sliti 7, Maaloul 6.

KEY MOMENTS

45+1’ - GOAL! (Dango Ouattara) - What a fine individual effort! That is Dango Ouattara’s first international goal! Toure slides him through with an expertly weighted through ball and the youngster does all the rest. Ouattara makes a 20-yard run into the box. Then, almost losing the ball at the vital moment, the attacker checks back to see off some chasing defenders before firing in a shot into the bottom corner from 12 yards out!
51’ - WHAT A SAVE! - Ben Said with a huge save to keep Tunisia in the match! Burkina Faso break again with pace and are 3 v 3. Djibril Ouattara puts Bayala in with a great through ball to his right, and the No. 10 is one-on-one with Ben Said, but the Tunisian goalkeeper stands firm to make a crucial save to keep the score at 1-0!
54’ - CHANCE! Sliti once again making an impact! He drills a low ball from the left across the face of the box, with Khazri his target. He may have been a touch offside in the build-up but was not initially flagged. Khazri tries to hit it first-time by opening his body at the edge of the six-yard box but his contact is very poor and he slices it well wide of the goal.
80’ - RED CARD (Dango Ouattara) - Dango catches Ali Maaloul with a flailing arm, but it does not look like there is much intent. Maaloul makes a meal of it, and rolls around on the floor. The referee is told by the VAR to view the incident again on the pitchside monitor. He changes his decision from a yellow to a red card!

KEY STATS

  • Burkina Faso sure love knocking Tunisia out of the AFCON at the quarter-final stage. They have now done it on three occasions in the tournament (1998, 2017 and 2021).
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