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B. Faso 1-1 Ghana (3-2 pens)

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Bance: Clinical finisher

Bance: Clinical finisher

Burkina Faso will compete in their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations final after their 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over four-time champions Ghana on Wednesday in Nelspruit.

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Wakaso Mubarak gave the Black Stars the lead from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, but relentless attacking play from the Stallions saw Astride Bance level matters on the 60 minute mark.

It was Bance's cool finish from the spot after the teams couldn't be separated following 120 minutes of full-field action, along with Daouda Diakite's crucial save, which sealed the West African minnows' spot in the tournament showpiece with Nigeria.

Ghana seemed more at ease from the opening whistle at the Mbombela Stadium, with starlet Christian Atsu full of running from the outset.

But the Black Stars suffered a tellingly blow in the 10th minute when veteran John Paintsil was forced off the field with a hamstring injury.

And just when the Stallions look to be settling into the match, Atsu was adjudged to have been brought down illegally inside the box, Wakaso subsequently making no mistake from the spot.

The Black Stars almost doubled their lead with immediate effect, Atsu's shot at the near post fired straight into Diakite's hands.

Yet, as the half progressed it was Burkina Faso who dominated possession and looked more dangerous on attack, Bance combining well with Prejuce Nakoulma and Jonathan Pitroipa in the final third to create several chances.

It was much the same after the interval as Bance and Nakoulma continued to trouble the Ghanaian back-four with some regularity, John Boye and John Vorsah surprisingly having a tough time closing down the Stallions duo.

Bance's well-struck header in the 53rd minute looked to have crept in under the crossbar as the Stallions screamed for the goal to be given, but Fatau Dadau's hand was on the ball to prevent it from crossing the line.

Gyan then had the perfect chance to finish Burkina Faso off in the 58th minute when he strode into the box to meet Atsu's ball from the left, but his right-footed effort agonisingly struck the woodwork.

In hindsight, Ghana will look back and recognise the missed strike as the shot which likely cost them a spot in the final for a second successive tournament.

Moments later, Bance finally delivered in the tournament, the big man converting from the edge of the box with ease after Florent Rouamba's pass set him up.

It was then a hectic to-and-fro affair with both teams pushing up in search of the match-winning goal, but alas, no breakthrough came despite their best intentions.

With the scores level at full-time, another 30 minutes was added to possibly decide the encounter, and it was Burkina Faso who seemed to find that extra gear going forward.

Bance had numerous chances on goal to close for the Stallions, but squandered several, with those of his on target having drawn fine saves from arguably the competition's best goalkeeper Dauda.

Disappointment came late on for Pitroipa as the Burkina Faso playmaker was shown his second yellow card of the match, for simulation, to bring to an end his AFCON journey.

The scores deadlocked after extra-time, the two teams were called into action from the spot to decide their fates, and it was Burkina Faso who held their nerve better on the day.

Poor penalty misses from Vorsah and substitute Emmanuel Clottey, along with Diakite's diving stop to his left from Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu's kick, helped send Paul Put and his men through to the last stage.

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Posted: 06/02/13 21:33

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