Burkina Faso into last four

Updated 05 February 2013
0

Burkina Faso into last four

NELSPRUIT, South Africa: Burkina Faso reached the semifinals of the African Nations Cup for the first since 1998 when Jonathan Pitroipa produced the one moment of true class to head home an extra-time winner in a 1-0 victory over fellow outsiders Togo on Sunday night.
Pitroipa pulled away from his marker in the last seconds of the first period of extra time to head Charles Kabore’s corner in off the underside of the bar to send Burkina Faso through to a meeting with Ghana back in Nelspruit on Wednesday.
The match, on the hard, sandy pitch at the Mbombela Stadium, seemed destined to go to penalties after 90 minutes of largely uninspiring football, although both sides did have chances to win it in the closing minutes of normal time.
Togo’s talismanic skipper Emmanuel Adebayor worked tirelessly for his side, who had never reached this stage in seven previous attempts, but he was unable to find the net with one effort cleared off the line and another well saved by Burkina goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.
Burkina’s Belgian coach Paul Put dedicated the victory to the country’s president Blaise Compaore who was celebrating his 62nd birthday, adding: “This is like a never-ending story. We are very happy and very proud.
“The pitch is hard and the conditions are difficult but it is like our home pitch now and I am looking forward to meeting Ghana in the semi-final.

“I don’t have a crystal ball and cannot tell you what will happen but our objective was to reach the semifinals and we have done that, and I am the happiest coach at this tournament.” Togo coach Didier Six was naturally disappointed at the result but praised his players for making it this far.
“If you make it into the quarterfinals you deserve to be there and this was a historic qualification for Togo as they have never been to this stage before,” he told reporters.
“Overall, this has been a very good tournament for us. Togo has a lot of quality, a lot of good young players and a bright future ahead of them and I am very proud of my players tonight.” But while there some clever individual skills on display, the match itself was a poor one, littered by 53 fouls and with only seven attempts on target during the 120 minutes.
Whether it was the sandy pitch or the rarefied atmosphere of reaching the quarterfinals, both sides took time to settle but after a poor first half the match improved as a spectacle but there was still a lack of real quality in front of goal.


As it happened: Saudi Arabia 2 Egypt 1 - Green Falcons bow out of World Cup in style

Updated 41 min 17 sec ago
0

As it happened: Saudi Arabia 2 Egypt 1 - Green Falcons bow out of World Cup in style

  • Al-Dawsari's late winner gives Saudi Arabia first World Cup victory in 24 years
  • Green Falcons finish third in Group A ahead of Mohamed Salah's Egypt

FULL-TIME: And that is that, what a great ending to this World Cup for Juan Antonio Pizzi and his side, and all the Saudi fans in the ground - especially after the Russia game. Green Falcons finish third in the group, ahead of Egypt who go home without a point.

6.54PM: GOAL - SAUDI ARABIA - Late drama for the Green Falcons! Salem Al-Dawsari has scored with the last kick of the game to give Saudi Arabia a 2-1 win and their first in a World Cup for 24 years! What a celebration, too!

6.45PM: Great camaraderie between the Egypt and Saudi Arabian fans in the stands. The Mexican Wave is going round the stadium, which is never usually a good sign. But this has been a solid performance from both teams.

6.40PM: The Green Falcons have had a couple of free-kicks in promising positions in the last 5 minutes...both have been wasted, however. 10 minutes left...

6.30PM: That early bright start to this half is fading for Saudi Arabia as Egypt look to take control of the game, and Hector Cuper urges them on.

But what's this? Another two top saves from El-Hadary keeps Saudi Arabia at bay. They're not done just yet...

6.24PM: That's the end of the World Cup for Mohsen as the Egyptian No. 9 is replaced by Ramadan Sobhi.

Meanwhile, Aburadeah Aseri comes on for Bahebri for the Green Falcons.

25 minutes left.

6.21PM: Both of Egypt's goals at this World Cup have been scored by Salah, but Trezeguet came awfully close to joining the party as his towering header flashes just past the post with Al-Mosailem in the Saudi goal well beaten.

6.15PM: The intensity has just dropped out of this game now, and is beginning to look like the "dead rubber" we thought it would be. Saudi Arabia seem content to knock it around the middle just now, and Egypt are happy to let them.

6.08PM: Much better from Saudi Arabia who are attacking with a lot more intent at the beginning of the second half, they're pinning Egypt back into their own half at the moment.

5.45PM - HALFTIME: What a story for Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who pulled off a fantastic save to keep Egypt ahead. Magical moment. But the second penalty gives Saudi Arabia hope for the second half. 

The Salah goal opened the game up much more, and the Green Falcons produced some much better football to create opportunities. 

One last push in the second half could see them claim a famous victory.

5.48PM: After VAR review, the penalty is confirmed and Salman Al-Faraj buries it! GOAL FOR SAUDI ARABIA! At last...

5.45PM: A SECOND PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA...

5.40PM: PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA - And Fahad misses it...the wait for a goal at this World Cup goes on for the Green Falcons!

5.36PM: Salman has a glorious chance for Saudi Arabia, but his shot inside the box is blocked on the line and goes out for a corner. Green Falcons' best chance of the game.

5.30PM: That's given the thousands of Egyptian fans in this Volgograd Arena something to cheer about, and they're the ones making all the noise now.

5.22PM: GOAL - Who else? Mohamed Salah with a wonderful touch chips it into the net to give the Pharoahs a 1-0 lead...

5.20PM: As we've seen for the majority of this tournament, Saudi Arabia keep the ball reasonably well in the first two-thirds ... but they are just lacking that quality needed in the final third to turn possession into goals.

5.12PM: There's one glimmer of hope about this World Cup for Saudi Arabia - according to the statisticians, they boast some one of the best passing accuracy figures at the tournament. Having made 1,107 passes in their two games before today, they boasted an accuracy of 83.9%, just behind Spain on 91.3%. Iran were at the bottom with 61.3%.

5.07PM: Saudi Arabia win their first corner of the match... and it is comfortably cleared by the Egyptian defense. But that was better from the Green Falcons.

5.00PM: Here we go, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's final game of the 2018 World Cup is under way...

4.50PM: Al-Ahli's Alexis Ruano is watching the game and is hoping for a Saudi Arabia win by the looks of it...

Meanwhile, the Egypt fans are in good voice in the stands too...

4.40PM: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match: "It's very easy with hindsight, after the results that we have had, to come up with situations that you'd like to change. But unfortunately we coaches have to take most of our decisions before things pan out.

"We've seen that certain concepts work, we've seen alternatives, we've tried to bring in new players as well, and this experience that we have had specifically in the run-up to this World Cup has been very important."

4.15PM: This must be some sort of record because there is 45 minutes to go until kick-off and we have not spoken about Mohamed Salah yet. The news El-Hadary will start and enter the record books has taken the spotlight away from the "Egyptian King". We reckon that both for him and the rest of the squad that will come as a huge relief. Cominginto this match there were reports Salah was ready to quit international football, such was the circus that his playing/non-playing created — the latest episode of which saw both player and team management deny that rumor.

4PM: EL-HADARY SET TO MAKE HISTORY —  So the last matches of Group A have arrived and while hosts Russia will be battling it out with Uruguay to see who goes though as group winners, the Green Falcons and Egypt have little but pride to play for in Volgograd.

The big team news that has come out so far is that Hector Cuper has had a heart and will start Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. That means El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup. Aged 45 years, five months and 12 days he will smash the record currently held by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

This may be a dead rubber, however, both sides will be keen to get a win. Saudi Arabia are looking for their first World Cup victory since 1994, while the Pharaohs are searching for their first win in the tournament ever.