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Senegalese attack ignites late to knock out Burkina Faso for spot in AFCON final

A frantic final twenty minutes saw all four goals scored in the opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal, but Senegal came out on top with a 3-1 result over Burkina Faso in the end. Strikes from Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Sadio Mané were enough to send Senegal through to their second straight AFCON final, where the Teranga Lions will face the winner between hosts Cameroon and Egypt.

The opening exchanges were tense with both teams having plenty of nervous energy for the massive occasion. A couple of nasty collisions disrupted the rhythm of the game and an inspired Burkinabé defense kept favorites Senegal from finding their groove. The Senegalese had a few first half chances but failed to threaten Burkina Faso goalkeeper Hervé Koffi, who had to be substituted for backup Farid Ouédraogo following an apparent concussion in the 35th minute.

Despite only having a couple looks on the Senegalese goal in the opening period, Burkina Faso did well to hold out defensively and showed some threat on the counter attack, lacking composure in the final third. The final minutes of first half stoppage time saw a penalty kick initially awarded to Senegal for an Edmond Tapsoba handball, but a Video Assistant Referee review overruled referee Bamlak Tessema’s call and the match was scoreless at halftime.

A drop in Burkina Faso’s quality going forward combined with Senegal’s sluggishness meant little in the way of chances for either team for a long stretch after halftime. However, after Senegal manager Aliou Cissé brought in Pape Gueye and dynamic winger Ismaïla Sarr in the 65th minute, the match sparked into life soon after. In the 70th minute, a Bouna Sarr corner kick bounced around the Burkinabé penalty area before Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly provided an overhead kick pass to find fellow center back Abdou Diallo, who turned and fired past Ouédraogo from six yards out.

The Burkinabé defense started to break down and five minutes later Senegal found their second. Mané did brilliantly to chase down a loose ball heading towards the end line and snuck around Burkina Faso center back Issoufou Dayo, giving the Liverpool player plenty of time to close in, draw Ouédraogo out and set up Bamba Dieng for an easy close range finish.

Burkina Faso attempted to rally and cut the deficit in half in the 82nd minute when Bertrand Traoré passed out wide to right back Issa Kaboré and his cross found Blati Touré, who redirected past a helpless Edouard Mendy in the Senegalese goal. However, five minutes later it was Mané who wrapped up the victory when Sarr collected a loose ball and sent the forward behind a stretched Burkinabé defense to coolly chip his finish over an advancing Ouédraogo.

Highlights of the match are below.

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