Africa News Bulletin

Burkina Faso 1-0 Tunisia: Dango Ouattara scores and sent off in tight AFCON quarter-final

Burkina Faso moved into the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a narrow 1-0 win over Tunisia.

Dango Ouattara got the only goal of the match, just seconds before half-time, though with ten minutes remaining he was shown a straight red card. But while Tunisia piled on the pressure, they could not find the equalizer they needed.

It’s the seventh time Tunisia has reached the quarter-finals since they last lifted the trophy in 2004 – they have progressed further just once. Burkina Faso progress to the AFCON last four, and Senegal or Equatorial Guinea will be their opponents.

Burkina Faso caused Tunisia problems in wide areas from the early stages of the match. Cyrille Bayala worked space for himself brilliantly, but Ben Said saved the effort from a tight angle. Wahbi Khazri then had a Tunisia free-kick tipped over the bar from 40 yards out.

It looked like being goalless at the break, but Ouattara scored with the final action of the first half. Blati Toure played a lovely ball into the path of his teammate, and Ouattara cut inside under pressure, stayed on his feet, and fired into the net with the help of a slight deflection.

The lead should have been doubled five minutes into the second half when Blati Toure was played clean through on goal, but his powerful strike was straight at Ben Said.

Tunisia were by far the better team as they pushed for a way back into the game, and they thought they had a penalty with 15 minutes to go. Soumaila Ouattara flew into a heavy challenge in the box and won the ball, but caught Khazri in the follow-through. However, despite a VAR review, the referee stuck with his decision of no penalty.

He did overturn a call just minutes later though. Goalscorer Ouattara was shown a yellow card for catching Ali Maaloul with an elbow, but after looking at the replays the referee sent him off to leave Burkina Faso down to ten men.

That gave Tunisia renewed hope of an equalizer, but Burkina Faso held firm and withstood the late pressure to reach a third-semi final in the last nine years.

Original story on Evening Standard

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