A second-half Kora Fall penalty was enough to give Senegal their second ever win at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in their 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso. After Morocco’s win against Uganda, Senegal go into their final match against the hosts only separated by a worse goal-scoring record.
Diallo magic is the difference in a drab affair
The first fixture on matchday two at the WAFCON was undoubtedly the hardest watch. In the West African derby, neither side showed much quality going forward. Both sides relied on their physicality to create chances in their first match, but when up against each other, they were unable to find much joy.
Nguenar Ndiaye, who was such a threat against Uganda was unable to make an impact. Marshalled Alimata Belem and Madinatou Rouamba, the powerful centre-forward was anonymous for most of the match.
On the other end, Burkina Faso showed that they can defend well, and move the ball up the field well. However, when they get into the final third they lack the quality required to create chances.
Despite drafting in number ten Naomie Kabre to bring more creativity, the Stallions found little joy against an equally solid Senegalese backline marshalled by Mbayang Sow.
The fans, who had come out in strong voice for both sides, had to wait until the 74th minute for a chance from open play when substitute Hapsatou Diallo rifled a powerful shot straight at Mariam Ouatarra.
But once again, it was a moment of magic from the 16-year-old winger that opened up the game for Senegal. Following a Burkina Faso corner, she picked up the ball in her own half, beat her marker and dribbled 50 metres before being brought down for a penalty.
Despite starting on the bench, the teenager was Senegal’s biggest threat and is proving to be a real weapon, with her direct running and trickery.
Burkina Faso fight but show little quality
The Stallions once again rued their inability to create chances of note. Against Morocco, they only created one clear-cut chance, but that was one better than yesterday’s match.
Pascal Sawadogo’s side are a solid unit, and hard to break down, but they lack creativity or the brute force to get into areas where they can score. Having dropped pacey Juliette Nana in favour for the more technical Kabre, Sawadogo will have hoped for more guile in the midfield, but instead he simply lost a really talented outlet on the wing.
Group A set up for tantalising finish
The debutants have now twice fought bravely and defended well for most of a match, but still fallen short at 1-0. However, they are not yet out of the competition.
If they beat Uganda in the final match of the group stage, they will have a very strong chance of going through. They will rely on the other two groups, but expectations would be that Botswana in group C will lose both their matches against Nigeria and South Africa. So regardless of what happens in an unpredictable Group C, having only conceded twice, the Burkinabes would be likely to be one of the best third-placed teams.
But if they are to beat Uganda, they will have to create more chances. Uganda play a good brand of football and will be gunning for that third-place spot themselves, though having a much worse goal difference.
The result in this match alongside the other sets up a fascinating final set of group games. Senegal will have to beat Morocco if they want to top group A, meanwhile, Uganda and Burkina Faso will both be desperate for a win which can only be a good thing for the spectacle.
Burkina Faso – Ouatarra, Koudougou, Belem, Rouama, Zongo, Millogo (c), Sawadogo, Kabre, Congo, Balkissa, Nikiema
Substitutes: Tarnagda, Kafando, Nana
Senegal – Sene (gk), Dembele, Camara, Sow, Babou, S. Sagna (c), J. Sagna, Diakhate, Balde, Diop, Ndiaye
Substitutes: Diallo, Diagne, Fall, Ngom