Afcon 2017: And Then There Were Four

Over the weekend the remaining eight teams in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations battled for their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.

After Sunday the four teams remaining included Ghana, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

Their advancement in the tournament came at the expense of Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and DR Congo.

On Saturday Burkina Faso overcame a disappointed Tunisia side 2-0.  Burkina Faso were able to keep the rampant Tunisians scoreless.  After scoring six in their last two matches at Afcon, they couldn’t seem to find the back of the net this time around.

Two late goals from Burkina Faso were enough to see them through to the semi-finals of the competition.  Aristide Bance provided the winner in the 81st minute after a beautiful set-piece play that found him drilling a ball hard and low into the corner of the goal from outside the 18-yard box.

Just three minutes later they had their cushion.  It was the prolific Prejuce Nakoulma who cemented Burkina Faso’s place in the semi-finals.

Shortly after Burkina Faso were through, Cameroon and Senegal found themselves in a penalty shootout.  After failing to take any of their chances in normal and extra time, Senegal were forced to suffer as they were defeated 4-5 in penalty kicks.

It all came down to Africa’s most expensive player: Sadio Mane.  Unfortunately for Mane he won’t be forgetting this one any time soon.  It was Mane that missed the fifth penalty of the shootout to allow Cameroon the chance to take the match.  And that was exactly what they did when Vincent Aboubakar notched the winning penalty sending Senegal packing.

On Sunday it was Ghana and Egypt’s time to shine.

First up was Ghana against the DR Congo.

It was Ghana’s Ayew brothers who stole the spotlight.  Both Jordan Ayew and Andre Ayew provided a goal each to see off the DR Congo 2-1.

After Jordan Ayew opened the scoring in the 63rd minute, DR Congo’s Paul Jose M’Poku levelled things just five minutes later with a fantastic long-range effort.

The winning goal came from a penalty in the 78th minute after Christian Atsu was taken down inside the box by Lomalisa Mutambala.

Andre Ayew confidently dispatched the penalty into the back of the net sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Egypt were the last side to reach the semi-finals when they left it late to send the Moroccans home.

In a tense match with few chances for both sides, the only goal was scored three minutes from full time.

The goal came from a scramble in the box after a corner for the Egyptian side.  Midfielder Mahmoud Kahraba was in the right place at the right time to give his side the goal that saw them through to the semi-finals of the tournament.

The Pharaohs will play in the first semi-final matchup on Wednesday against a strong and confident Burkina Faso side.  Cameroon and Ghana will battle for the second spot in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals on Thursday.

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Mitchell P. Rozansky

Mitchell P. Rozansky is a promising journalism scholar, member of the St. Bonaventure University Community and Editor-In-Chief of Globe Afrique Media, publisher of globeafrique.com. Prior to serving as editor in chief, he was entertainment editor of the media group, covering news stories and articles on sports, lifestyles, TV/films, music, and fashion.
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