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Afcon: Burkina Faso 0 Togo 1 (AET)

Jonathan Pitroipa’s extra-time goal saw Togo edge Burkina Faso 1-0 on Sunday and book a semi-final with Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations.

After a goalless regulation 90 minutes in Nelspruit, Stade Rennes striker Pitroipa headed the winner at the near post after being left unmarked from a Charles Kabore corner.

Both sides had their chances at Mbombela Stadium, Togo seeing most of the possession, but the defence of Burkina Faso was a resolute shield in front of goalkeeper Diakite.

Togo applied some heavy pressure early in the second half, almost earning the lead in the 47th minute.

Good link play between Togo’s forward trio shook the Stallions defence – Floyd Ayite played in his captain, Emmanuel Adebayor, who then connected with Serge Gakpe.

The Standard Liege player crossed the ball back for the Tottenham Hotspur striker, who rose between two defenders and headed past the advancing goalkeeper toward an open net, but Saidou Panandetiguiri recovered quickly to clear off the goal-line.

Skipper Adebayor went close again when he brought the ball down and flew past markers Paul Koulibaly and Bakary Kone.

The lanky striker dashed to the right and unleashed a powerful drive at goal, but Daouda Diakite advanced off his line to narrow the angle before blocking the shot.

Moments later, it was Burkina Faso’s turn to threaten.

Substitute Prejuce Nakoulma brought some spark to the attacking department, as he was fed through down the left. The Gornik Zabrze striker opened up the Togo defence with his twists and turns, but he failed to hit his target.

A few chances went begging for both sides, but there was no breakthrough for either side in normal time as referee Badara Diatta blew the whistle, leading to another 30 minutes of play to decide the match.

Extra-time started with a great deal of commitment from both sides, but execution was poor in the final third.

It was 1998 champions Togo who saw more of the ball during the second half of extra-time and their efforts paid off, as Pitroipa netted the winner to send Didier Six’s men packing and set up a semi-final against four-time champions Ghana.

Sun 3 February, 2013
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