Burkina Faso vs. Ghana: Final score 1-1, Les Étalons through after 3-2 win on penalties

Ian Walton

Burkina Faso advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations final with a 3-2 win on penalties. Both sides had tons of chances throughout the 120 minutes of play to get the winner, but no one could break through.

Burkina Faso will face Nigeria in the 2013 Africa Cup of National final after defeating Ghana 3-2 on penalties in today's second semifinal. Mubarak Wakaso puts Ghana ahead early on a controversial penalty but Burkina Faso fought back and forced extra time thanks to a goal from Aristide Bancé.

The match opened with some cautious play as both teams felt each other out. In the 7th minute, Ghana's right back John Pantsil grabbed his hamstring and went down while chasing a ball down the wing. He immediately signalled for a substitution and was stretchered off in an obvious combination of pain and frustration.

Ghana opened the scored just five minutes later after they were gifted a penalty by referee Slim Jdidi after Saidou Panandetiguiri "fouled" Christian Atsu on the right side of the Burkina Faso box. What Panandetiguiri actually did was make some contact with his arm across Atsu's chest and the Ghanaian midfielder made the most of it. Either way, Mubarak Wakaso stepped up and beat Daouda Diakite to put Ghana up 1-0.

Asamoah Gyan missed a brilliant chance to extend Ghana's advantage in the 30th minute when he broke in behind the Burkina Faso defense down the right wing. Gyan moved in one-on-one with Diakite but was stonewalled by the keeper who took away Gyan's angle very well.

Burkina Faso responded right away when Prejuce Nakoulma brought down a tremendous long ball right at the top of the Ghana box, fighting off Harrison Aful for control. Nakoulma might of ended up with too good of a target to shoot at though, sending his effort well over the cross bar.

Ghana got another great chance in the 38th minute when Kwadwo Asamoah battled past Nakoulma right on the end line before centering the ball back across the box to charging Solomon Asante. Defender Bakary Kone didn't actually make contract with Asante's shot, but his lightning quick recovery might have distracted the midfielder enough as he sent his shot well wide of the goal.

In the 53rd minute it appeared Burkina Faso scored when Aristide Bancé's header hit off the underside of the crossbar before being pushed away by Fatau Dauda. Bancé thtew his arms up in frustration but replays showed the linesman made the right call as the ball didn't not cross the line.

Five minutes later Gyan missed a golden opportunity to put the match away for Ghana when he got behind the Burkina Faso defense and beat Diakite with his shot. Unfortunately, the ball hammered off the post. It would be a pivotal miss.

One minute later Florent Rouamba went shoulder to shoulder with Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu in the midfield, knocking him off the ball. Charles Kaboré picked up the lose ball and found Bancé and his amazing hair at the top of the box. The striker took his time and placed the ball inside the far post to pull Burkina Faso even at 1-1.

No one could break the deadlock and after a tough 90 minutes, the match went to extra time.

Ghana was back knocking at the door in the 95th minute. Afful ran on to a lose ball on the right side of the box, settled it with one touch and fired a shot from a tough angle. His shot went high but was on target, forcing Diakite to parry the ball away over the crossbar.

Bancé nearly scored in the 103rd minute after Ghana's Issac Vorsah slipped creating a big gap at the top of the box. Bancé stepped in to the space and fired a shot that sailed well over the crossbar.

Burkina Faso were back on the final play for the first half of extra time. Nakoulma and Asamoah were locked up inside the box before Nakoulma worked around the defender and chipped a shot over the charging keeper and into the Ghana net. The referee quickly stepped in and waved off the goal, calling a foul on Nakoulma.

More insanity in the 110th minute with Bancé once again involved. The first chance came after a Ghana turnover as Bancé moved in to the Ghana box and sent a rising shot through traffic that was pushed away for a corner by Fatau Dauda. On the ensuing corner, the ball was bounced around the box and again ended up on the foot of Bancé, this time his shot was dead on target but somehow Harrison Afful managed to clear the ball off the line.

Burkina Faso's Jonathan Pitroipa was shown a second yellow card in the 116th minute for simulation and sent off. Pitroipa will miss the final.

Not to be out done by Bancé, Ghana's Asamoah Gyan missed a last second chance from close range. The referee finally blew the whistle and after 120 minutes of play, the match headed to penalties.

Ghana's Issac Vorsah started off penalties with a horrific shank miss and Burkina Faso's Djakaridja Kone took advantage putting his side up 1-0. Everyone scored their chances until the third round when Paul Koulibaly tired an entirely too casual attempt that was easily saved by Dauda. Ghana's Emmanuel Clottey promptly missed his next attempt and Bancé scored his to make it 3-2 after four rounds.

Needing to score to keep Ghana in the match, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu couldn't come through as his attempt was saved by a diving Diakite.

Burkina Faso's incredible run continues and they will face Nigeria on Saturday in the final.

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