Pitroipa’s header lands Stallions in last four
After a timid start from both sides, Togo had a great chance in the 18th as Gakpe found space on the right, broke to the byline and pulled back for Ayite but the ball was cut up and the shot bounced comfortably in the hands of goalkeeper, Diakite. The game continued with numerous false attempts recorded. Kabore launched a speculative effort from distance after some pressure by the Stallions but he got right underneath the ball that flew out for a Togo free kick. In the 31st, Gakpe picked up the ball on the right side and ran at Togo’s defense just to see Koulibaly smash the ball out of play. The Hawks appeared stronger than their counterparts towards the end of the goalless first half. About 20 minutes into the second half, the situation changed as Burlkina Faso emerged the stronger of the two teams. However, Togo continued threatening on the counter. Kabore took a corner short linking up with Kone but his cross was easily dealt with by the Togo backline. On his part, Adebayor charged past Koulibaly and Kone, drove down the right before firing at goal. Goalkeeper Diakite however narrowed the angle and pulled out a fine stop to deny a lead for the Hawks. Pressure grew higher in the last five minutes of regular time with Segbefia winning a free kick for Togo. Unfortunately, Romao could not break the deadlock. Just over minute to go, it was Burkina Faso’s chance with a free kick on the edge of the box. However, Kabore’s cross had too much on it and the ball rolled for a throw in. After the referee’s whistle for full time, both sides headed for extra time. Burkina Faso started the brighter. Traore drove a ball on the left then push forward a low effort goal-bound but Togo keeper held on to prevent the goal. At the other end, Adebayor strode into the 18 yard box and forced an inch perfect challenge from Koulibaly to deny the Togo front man. At the death of the first half of extra time, a corner by Kabore picked out Pitroipa unmarked at the near post. He headed against the bar and into the back of the net to break the deadlock for Burkina Faso. The Stallions fought hard to maintain the win until final whistle. Burkina Faso complete the last four with Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.
Sunday 3rd February, 6:30PM GMT: Togo makes history. For the first time in seven entries into the AFCON, the Sparrowhawks reach the quarter finals. They face Burkina Faso, no easy opponents, in Mbombela Stadium (Nelspruit).
The Hawks of Togo play their very first nations cup quarterfinal game this evening against Burkina Faso. The encounter takes place in Nelspruit at the Mbombela stadium and kick off time is 20:30. After conceding just a goal in the tournament so far, Burkina Faso look more solid in the defense. The Stallions topped group C with 5 points out of a win and two draws. Meanwhile, Togo finished second in group D with four points to advance to the last eight. The Hawks and the Stallions have already met 19 times with Togo winning nine times against four. They have recorded two draws. They play in the Orange Africa cup of nations for the first time.