Burkina Faso and Senegal will face each other in the first semi-final of the 2021 Africa Cup in Cameroon. This means that the world number 60 and the world number 20 will meet. In other words, the eleventh best side on the continent will challenge the leader in this classification.
On Saturday, Burkina Faso defeated the 30th in the FIFA rankings, Tunisia, 1-0 in the quarter-finals, giving them their fourth win in six international matches. Here, the two exceptions occurred in Group A of the AFCON. There, Kamou Malo’s team experienced a defeat against Cameroon and a draw against Ethiopia. In between, they prevailed against Cabo Verde. Then, the Burkinabe team won against Gabon in the round of sixteen after a penalty shoot-out.
With eight wins and three draws, Senegal are unbeaten in eleven appearances. However, the Lions of Teranga, for example, struggled more than expected in Group B. After a working win against Zimbabwe, they first drew nil-nil against Guinea and Malawi. These teams are to be placed below Burkina Faso and the same applies to their first opponents in the knockout phase. There, Aliou Cissé’s eleven first defeated Cabo Verde before a 3-1 win over Equatorial Guinea followed on Sunday. The match will be played at the Stade Omnisport de Douala.
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What speaks for Burkina Faso?
- Has comparatively little to lose in contrast to Senegal
- Made a sensation in the quarter-finals against Tunisia
- Has one more day at their disposal
What speaks for Senegal?
- Won eight of their last eleven internationals so far
- Played five consecutive matches to nil before the 3-1 defeat to Equatorial Guinea
- The greater quality and international experience in the squad
Our betting tip:
- Bet: Under 2.5 goals and both teams not to score
- Bookmaker: Betway
- Odds: 1.72
Expert analysis Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso were drawn in Group A and played their opening match against Cameroon. Here, Kamou Malo’s side shocked the hosts with a goal from Gustavo Sangaré of French second division side Quevilly Rouen in the 27th minute. The number 50 turned the score around just before the break thanks to two penalties and in the end prevailed 2-1.
The Stallions responded to their opening defeat by beating 73rd-placed Cabo Verde 1-0 in their second appearance. This time Hassane Bandé, who earns his money in the Croatian 1st HNL at Istra 1961, provided the decisive goal in the 39th minute. After that, the Burkina Faso side initially drew 1-1 twice in the regular time, squandering an advantage just as often.
Cyrille Bayala of another French second division club, AC Ajaccio, scored against 137th-ranked Ethiopia and Bertrand Traoré of Premier League club Aston Villa against 89th-ranked Gabon. In the round of sixteen, it was particularly bitter as the Gabonese side scored in the 91st minute with the help of an own goal and had played with a man less for around 25 minutes. Thereafter, they lost after the penalty shoot-out.
Subsequently, the Stallions did not miss a beat in the quarter-finals on Saturday, where they defeated 30th-ranked Tunisia 1-0 in Garoua. They did so despite Dango Ouattara of Ligue 1 club Lorient becoming the tragic hero with the winning goal in the 45th minute and a red card in the 82nd minute. Due to numerous COVID-19 infections at the AFCON, the Eagles of Carthage fell short of expectations, but Burkina Faso defeated them for the fourth time in seven clashes.
Malo will now consequently be without Dango Ouattara for the semi-final against Senegal. The 19-year-old attacking talent’s suspension is all the more bitter considering that his team’s biggest weakness is their lack of finishing.
Expert analysis Senegal
Senegal beat 114th-ranked Equatorial Guinea 3-1 in their quarter-final on Sunday in Yaoundé. At first glance, that sounds like a sure win, but the Lions of Teranga had more problems than expected. It was their own fault. Because: After Famara Diédhiou of Turkish Süper Lig club Alanyaspor had given them the lead in the 28th minute, they played too much on the back burner.
Only after the equalizer in the 57th minute, the first goal conceded after five games, did Aliou Cissé’s team throw everything forward. And the substitutes Cheikhou Kouyaté of Crystal Palace (68th) and Ismaïla Sarr of Watford (79th), who play in the Premier League, saved Senegal from humiliation. Thus, a common thread continued to run. The best national team on the continent clearly showed less than what it is capable of.
In the 2-0 defeat of Cabo Verde in the last sixteen, Bamba Dieng of Olympique Marseille and Sadio Mané of Liverpool scored in the 63rd and 90th minutes respectively. On this occasion, the lead only came when the opponent had two players less on the pitch. And the first red card happened in the 21st minute.
At least the Lions of Teranga returned to winning ways after two 0-0 draws against 81st-placed Guinea and 129th-placed Malawi. And in their Group B opener against 121st-placed Zimbabwe, Mané converted a 97th-minute penalty for the 1-0. From today’s perspective, Cissé will have the full squad available for the semi-final between Burkina Faso and Senegal.
Head-to-head comparison Burkina Faso vs. Senegal
Burkina Faso and Senegal last competed against each other in September 2017 and in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. On that occasion, the Stallions managed two draws against the Lions of Teranga. A 2-2 in Burkina Faso was preceded by a 0-0 in Senegal. The latter result also the one in the last clash in an Africa Cup so far. At the 2004 edition in Tunisia, Burkina Faso played against Senegal in Group B.
Our betting tip and the best odds
In the Burkina Faso vs. Senegal clash, the eleventh-placed team on the continent challenges the leader in this ranking at first glance. However, the Lions of Teranga gritted their teeth in all previous appearances at the 2021 Africa Cup. Partly because their opponents stepped up a gear, and partly because Mané & Co. took the games lightly for too long.
We therefore expect Burkina Faso to make life anything but easy for Senegal. However, the Stallions’ biggest weakness is their finishing, and Dango Ouattara’s suspension complicates the matter even more. Furthermore, Equatorial Guinea ended a run of five appearances for the Lions of Teranga in which they did not concede a goal.
Burkina Faso vs. Senegal – betting tip: Under 2.5 goals and not both teams score, odds 1.72 at bookmaker Betway