One of the favourites for glory in the Africa Cup of Nations made it through to the final in the early match on Wednesday after Nigeria beat Mali 4-1. However, Ghana could not follow suit as they lost a one-goal lead to Burkina Faso and ended up being knocked out on penalties.
Ghana have not won the AFCON since 1982. They might have missed their best chance to regain that particular crown after failing to hold onto the lead against unfancied Burkina Faso.
The Burkinabe have, until this edition of the tournament, never progressed to the last four on foreign soil—but the story side of the tournament now have a chance to clinch their own title in the final.
Mubarak Wakaso scored an early penalty to put Ghana in front. With the levels of experienced players in the squad—a number of them successful in European football—the Black Stars should have been expected to see out the result and set up a massive final clash against Nigeria.
Instead, Burkina Faso found the resilience within themselves, which has seen them unbeaten throughout the entire tournament so far. They pulled level, with Aristide Bance scoring the all-important equaliser after an hour to force extra time and, eventually, penalties.
The one downside for the Burkinabe was the sending off of Jonathan Pitroipa, shown two yellow cards—the second for suspected diving. He will now miss the final itself.
As the game progressed to penalties, both sides hoped that they could find a final injection of quality. In truth, the spot kicks showed woeful technique for the large part and no shortage of frailness of mentality either.
Isaac Vorsah, Paul Koulibaly, Emmanuel Clottey and Emmanuel Badu all missed their spot-kicks, leaving Burkina Faso to triumph 3-2 on penalties.
There remains one more hurdle for the Stallions to clear if they are to win their first ever AFCON title, though they did finish ahead of Nigeria in the group stage.
For Ghana, though, it is very much a case of opportunity missed once again, as they complete four consecutive AFCON tournaments reaching the last four—without actually managing to win a fifth title.