Alain Traore scored a beauty two minutes from time to give Burkina Faso an infamous win 1-0 over Ghana, as the Stallions claimed third place.
The midfielder’s curling free-kick separated both sides in Port-Gentil on Saturday, as the Stallion finished third and with a place on the podium at the expense of the neighbours Ghana.
Despite fielding what looked to be a second string side, resting the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu among others, Ghana could have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Andy Yiadom sent a fine cross, but Emmanuel Ageymang Badu’s header missed the target narrowly. Seconds later, Bernard Tekpetey fired a long range effort but was met with the same fate.
The Black Stars looked hungrier for the bronze, and should have broken the deadlock after 25 minutes. A Jordan Ayew corner fell to Tekpetey, whose shot rattled the crossbar, with Burkina Faso’s goalkeeper Herve Koffi tipping to another corner.
Koffi came to his side’s rescue when he superbly saved Ayew’s free-kick five minutes later.
High humidity in Port-Gentil made the referee send both sides into a hydration timeout for the first time in the tournament.
Against the run of play, Burkina Faso could have taken the lead four minutes before the break. Prejuce Nakoulma recieved the ball in his own half, and his 40-metre run ended with a shot that just missed the target, as first half ended barren.
Ayew was Ghana’s dangerman once again, when he rounded his marker but his shot flew high three minutes after the break.
The Stars missed a glorious scoring chance on the hour mark. Ayew’s freekick was met by Tekpetey’s flying header that was inches away from giving Ghana the lead.
Aristide Bance tried his luck from a free-kick after 63 minutes, but Richard Ofori who was having his debut stood firm to clear the danger.
With time passing, Ghana’s coach Avram Grant fielded Gyan, Andre Ayew and Atsu as he looked for the winner.
But once again Burkina Faso made use of their fast counter attacks. A shaky Ghana corner saw the ball going to Nakoulma, who ran across the field finding Cyrille Bayala, but the substitiute’s shot was stopped by Ofori after 77 minutes. Bertrand Traore then fired a long range effort just wide, as the game turned into a swinging tale.
And it took a glimpse of magic to settle the game in Burkina Faso’s favour two minutes from time. Alain Traore fired a brilliant curling shot from a free-kick to give his side the lead.
The Burkinabes survived a late scare when their goalkeeper Koffi was there to stop Jonathan Mensah’s long range shot in stoppage time, and from the resulting corner Daniel Amartey headed wide, as the Stallions had their first ever taste of the African Cup of Nations bronze medals.