NELSPRUIT, South Africa (AFP) – Burkina Faso qualified for the semi-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Sunday by pipping Togo 1-0 after extra time.
The Stallions face four-time champions Ghana here on Wednesday while two-time title-holders Nigeria tackle Mali in the other semi-final in Durban.
Burkina Faso broke the deadlock through the lively Jonathan Pitroipa on 105 minutes when he nodded a corner beyond surprised goalkeeper Kossi Agassa and into the net.
Pitroipa’s winner was just reward for Burkina Faso’s more offensive approach, especially in extra time after 90 drab minutes at Mbombela Stadium in this north-eastern city.
The Stallions, whose only other last-four appearance came 15 years ago when they staged the competition, seem to find extra strength as the game wore on while the Sparrow Hawks tired.
Togo enjoyed more possession, but could not translate it into goals.
The first half belonged to Togo, who created the better chances.
Burkina Faso took the game to their opponents and after just four minutes Kofi Mohamed attempted to surprise the Togo goalkeeper with a shot from distance, but Agassa collected easily.
Floyd Ayite wasted a good chance for the Togolese when he scuffed his shot inside the box after good work by Serge Gakpe.
The Stallions had a chance in the 29th minute, but skipper Moumouni Dagano left Togo off the hook when he chose to control the ball inside the goal area and pass it back with the Togolese defence in disarray.
Just after the break, Tottenham Hotspur striker and Togo skipper Emmanuel Adebayor thought he had scored with a header, but the Senegalese referee correctly ruled that Mady Panandetiguiri cleared the ball before it crossed the line.
Adebayor evaded several opponents in the 78th minute, but his shot from inside the box was pushed away by Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.
Burkina Faso responded four minutes later when substitute Prejuce Nakoulma went on a mazy dribble only to be foiled by the alert Agassa.