AFCON 2017: Score, Reaction for Ghana vs. Burkina Faso 3rd-Place Match

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2017

Burkina Faso's midfielder Prejuce Nakoulma (C) challenges Ghana's defender Andy Yiadom (L) and Ghana's midfielder Ebenezer Ofori during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations third place football match between Burkina Faso and Ghana in Port-Gentil on February 4, 2017. / AFP / Steve JORDAN        (Photo credit should read STEVE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)
STEVE JORDAN/Getty Images

Alain Traore scored the only goal during Saturday's third-place match at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, as Burkina Faso beat Ghana 1-0.

The Black Stars dominated most of the match but didn't convert their chances, and Traore struck close to the final whistle, bending home a free-kick.

Cameroon and Egypt will battle for the title on Sunday. 

As the team's official Twitter account shared, Ghana made several changes to their squad, moving Frank Acheampong, Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew to the bench:

Ghana started the match on the front foot, and captain Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu perhaps should have given his side the lead just minutes into the match, aiming a header wide from a promising position.

Prejuce Nakoulma fired Burkina Faso's first chance wide from a long way out, and Alain Traore could only guide his free-kick into the waiting arms of Richard Ofori.

TV3 Network's Thierry Nyan thought Ghana made a good start, even if Burkina Faso threatened on more than a few occasions:

The Black Stars came agonisingly close to taking the lead after 25 minutes, as Thomas hit the crossbar. Bertrand Traore blocked his initial shot and couldn't get in the way of the rebound, but fortunately for his team, the Atletico Madrid man missed the target.

Thomas went close again minutes later, as he had a shot deflected for a corner, and Nakoulma missed perhaps the best chance of the half after a swift corner from Burkina Faso, dragging his shot wide.

Tomas Danicek of SandalsForGoalposts wasn't surprised:

The Stallions once again found themselves on the back foot at the start of the second half, and Ayew spurned an early opportunity, blasting over. The striker tried his luck a little later with a free-kick, barely missing the top corner with a curled effort.

Thomas put goalkeeper Kouakou Herve Koffi to work with a strong header, but Ghana's persistent pressure didn't lead to results. Ghana introduced Asamoah Gyan to freshen the legs up front, and the Black Stars' attacking dominance continued.

Burkina Faso's goalkeeper Herve Kouakou Koffi (back) prepares to block a header by Ghana's forward Bernard Tekpetey (2nd-R) during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations third place football match between Burkina Faso and Ghana in Port-Gentil on February 4, 2017.
STEVE JORDAN/Getty Images

But chances were fewer than in the first half. Aristide Bance's free-kick was deflected into the hands of the goalkeeper, and Jonathan Mensah failed to pick out a team-mate after a lovely move broke down.

On the other side of the pitch, substitute Cyrille Bayala caused some trouble with his fresher legs, drawing two saves from Ofori. 

With no extra time to be played after 90 minutes, the Stallions anticipated penalties and brought on Patrick Malo with 10 minutes left on the clock. That proved to be premature, as Nakoulma missed another glorious chance before Alain Traore finally broke the deadlock, converting a free-kick.

BBC Sport's John Bennett loved the strike:

Ghana pushed for an equaliser with all of their might, and both Mensah and Daniel Amartey went close, but the Stallions held on for third place.

Egypt and Cameroon will battle it out in the AFCON final on Sunday.

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