The first Africa Cup of Nations semi-final will take place out in Cameroon on Wednesday evening when we determine the first of the teams who will compete for the title on Sunday and who will be reduced to battling for third place.
This first game sees the surprise package of Burkina Faso looking to make it through to the final but if they are going to get there then they will need to get the better of the tournament favourites Senegal.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Premier League and BBC Three channels with the kick off coming at 7pm UK time.
Like so many teams do when it comes to this tournament, Burkina Faso began the campaign strongly but have seemed to get better the longer it has gone on. You couldn’t exactly say there was anything convincing about their group campaign and in truth they weren’t a great deal better in the round of 16 where they were taken to penalties by a limited Gabon side. Their best win came in the quarter final where they took care of Tunisia and if they can continue to improve they wouldn’t be without a chance in this semi-final.
This will be the fourth semi-final Burkina Faso have played since 1998 but they have only managed to win one of the previous three. Two of those semi-finals were in 2013 and 2017 so they have relatively recent experience to call upon. If they are going to win this match then you would imagine they will need to improve offensively. They are still yet to score more than one goal in a match and that might not be enough to come through here.
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You can say much the same about Senegal in fairness. They were absolute dross in the group stage and if we are being honest they weren’t a great deal better in the round of 16 when they were assisted by Cape Verde having two men sent off before the scoreboard had a comfortable look to it. We were waiting for the real Senegal to arrive at this tournament and they finally came to play in the quarter final when they cruised past Equatorial Guinea despite conceding their first goal of the tournament in that match.
That means Senegal are now just two wins from making up for losing out to Algeria in the final three years ago and they will be eager to win here and give themselves that shot at redemption. If they are going to do that they will need to be ruthless in front of goal, something they were anything but in the early stages of the competition. The good thing for them is that despite all their Covid issues and everything else at the beginning of the campaign, they have generally defended stoutly.
I was let down by Senegal letting a goal in during their quarter final win when I took them to win and there to be under 3.5 goals in the match but I’m happy to go with the same bet here as it might well be that Sadio Mane and co do not find the back of the net three times in this one. Semi-finals are generally tight affairs with the size of the prize on offer. If you think back to the Euros last summer both semis went past 90 minutes.
I don’t see this one doing the same because I do think the extra class that Senegal have will be apparent over the course of the 90 minutes but at the same time I’m not expecting them to run away with this game. Burkina Faso have shown they can stay in matches and I don’t see any reason why that would change here but experience, class and quality all lies with Senegal and over the course of the 90 minutes I expect that to show on the scoreboard.
Back Senegal to win and under 3.5 goals for a 3/10 stake at 2.15 with Betway