Brukina Faso exceeded all expectations to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, but the Stallions will try to make one last step and make it to the final. Ghana, on the other hand, reached this stage with ease, but that doesn’t mean this will be a walk in the park for the Black Stars.
Brukinabe winning even without Alain Traore
Even if Burkina Faso had really raised their profile over the last few years, there were two major reasons why not too many people expected them to go past the group stage. The first was their dismal showing at the 2012 tournament, when they lost all three group fixtures, and the second was extremely difficult group in South Africa, containing reigning champions Zambia and title contenders Nigeria. The Stallions, nevertheless, showed a lot of promise in group stage and ended up winning the first place, which earned them a clash with Togo in the quarter-finals. Paul Put’s side did not really play to their potential in that match, but managed to win after extra time to match their best ever result at the Africa Cup of Nations. However, after playing 120 minutes against Togo, Burkina Faso might find it hard to match in-form Ghana just three days later, especially with their best player Alain Traore unavailable.
Alain Traore continues to miss out with a thigh problem, but all other players are ready to face Ghana.
Number one favourites for the title
Having won the Under-20 World Cup and having reached the quarter-finals at the 2010 World Cup, Ghana have been rightly considered the best side on African soil, although the team have struggled to prove their worth at the previous Africa Cup of Nations. Given the poor record at tournament finals and the fact that several star players were missing, the Black Stars were not exactly seen as one of the candidates for the trophy in South Africa, but they quickly proved the doubters wrong. Talented coach Kwesi Appiah did brilliantly to create a homogenous unit, something that his predecessors had failed to do, and that has seen Ghana produce very consistent showings at the 2013 AFCON. After easily qualifying from the group stages, the Black Stars beat very good Cape Verde side with relative ease, and after having an extra day to rest ahead of the semi-final clash, they certainly look a good bet to make it to the final.
Tournament top scorer Wakaso Mubarak is set to return to the starting line-up, with Albert Adomah likely to be dropped.
Burkina Faso have largely impressed to go this far, with going into this match on the back of a draining game against Togo, I seriously doubt the players will have enough energy left to match high-flying Ghana. The Black Stars have been incredibly consistent so far, and that is enough to suggest they will win this game as well.
Top pick: Away win 2.05 (21/20) @ BetFred
Alternative pick 1: Ghana to score two or more goals 2.50 (3/2) @ Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Ghana to win to nil 3.10 (21/10) @ Coral
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