The first semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations takes place on Wednesday night when Burkina Faso take on Egypt for a place in Sunday’s final. Both sides will realise this is an open competition now and any of the final four can win the event which should add to the intrigue of the event.
They might not necessarily be the best known side in Africa but the 2013 runners-up have gone about their work quite nicely in this tournament. After holding the supposed big two in their group in Cameroon and Gabon they then took care of Guinea-Bissau in what was effectively a knockout match and then won their quarter final against Tunisia.
Burkina Faso have scored in every match in this tournament, the only remaining side to have done that, and their six goals have all been scored by different players so their attacking options are clear for all to see. While defence hasn’t been their strength they have put together back to back clean sheets and are starting to look strong in that department.
I don’t think we are telling any untruths when we saw we haven’t seen the best of Egypt in this tournament yet. We need to cut them a little bit of slack as the pitch they have played their matches on so far wouldn’t be fit for cows to graze on let alone football to be played on but I think we’ll need to see their best here.
Egypt are yet to concede a goal in the tournament yet although they have ridden their luck a few times with some crucial misses having happened against them but that suggests they might be tough to beat but whether they have enough in the forward areas remains to be seen.
This semi-final pits the best attacking side against the best defensive side in the competition so far and I’m going to side with the attacking team in Burkina Faso. While defence isn’t their strong point they are defending quite nicely and they are in this semi-final by right rather than default.
Egypt are a hard side to beat but they have plenty of pressure on their shoulders from here on in and we’ve seen throughout this competition that when the pressure arrives teams have been found wanting. I think Burkina Faso on the Asian lines are the way to approach this first semi-final.
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