The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-finals get underway this evening with Senegal and Burkina Faso to keep their hopes of winning a first continental title alive. The Lions will lock horns with the Stallions in a West African derby at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium with a kick-off Time 19:00 GMT.
While Senegal have not offered all too much in the way of quality all tournament, Aliou Cisse’s side are digging results out. So it should be a battle in the Cameroonian capital.
This will be the third Africa Cup of Nations encounter between Burkina Faso and Senegal and the first in the knock-out rounds, with Senegal unbeaten in the previous two matches in the group stages (W1 D1).
Senegal have won five of their last six knock-out matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, keeping four clean sheets and conceding just twice – with their only defeat the 2019 final, against Algeria (1-0).
Senegal could reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time – no team have played in more finals (2) without ever winning, while the Lions of Teranga could become the first side to play in consecutive finals since Egypt in 2010.
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“We are focused for the semi-final against a good Burkina Faso team which remains one of the best in the competition. We will play with positive pressure and a desire to represent the Senegalese flag and the country well. And We want to continue the adventure and win the title.” Added Joseph Lopy Senegal Midfielder.
The Stallions of Burkina Faso have impressed since the start of the competition with a fluid, offensive and forward-looking game.
Burkina Faso will play in their fourth semi-final match at the Africa Cup of Nations, having been eliminated in two of their previous three – last progressing to the final in 2013 (3-2 on penalties against Ghana).
The Burkinabe finished third in their last appearance in Gabon 2017. After missing the last edition in Egypt, they are now eyeing to better their best AFCON record when they finished as losing finalists in 2013.
“Personally, I achieved my goal, but as a competitor I aim to win the trophy next Sunday. We are determined to go all the way to win the title. Against Senegal, a great footballing country, we have to be ourselves. The main thing is to play our usual game.” Burkina Faso coach Kamou Malo said.
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For Burkina Faso goalkeeper Hervé Koffi, Senegal is one of the team’s best performers in Cameroon so far.
“The match against Senegal will be like a final. We will play all our assets to go to the final and seek the crown.” He said.
“The most important thing for us is to go as far as possible in the competition. I’m satisfied with my teammates. And I can promise you that we’re going to do our best to get the title. We are expecting a great match this Wednesday against Senegal with positive pressure.” He continued.
Dango Ouattara will miss out for Burkina Faso after his red card against Tunisia in a major blow for the side. Djibril Ouattara, meanwhile, will likely have to sit out too despite only making his first appearance of the tournament in the quarter-final following yet another injury.
For Senegal, no major changes are expected. However, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Cheikou Kouyate is handed a start after his impressive cameo against Equatorial Guinea.
Senegal XI: E Mendy; B Sarr, Koulibaly, A Diallo, Ciss; Kouyate, N Mendy, I Gueye; I Sarr, Diedhiou, Mane
Burkina Faso XI: Koffi; Kabore, Tapsoba, S. Ouattara, Yago; Nikiema, Guira, Sangare; Bande, Dj. Ouattara, Traore