Africa Cup of Nations – Burkina Faso v Egypt Preview (1/2/17)

Burkina Faso preview

The Stallions are the ‘surprise’ team in the last four, but probably deserve their place here more than anyone. They ended up topping a fairly difficult group, before producing an excellent second half against Tunisia in the quarter finals. They seemed to play an excellent tactical game in that match, gradually getting better as the game progressed. Burkina have done without key playmakers Jonathan Pitroipa & Jonathan Zongo for the last few games, but seem to be coping alright. Other players have stepped up like Nakoulma, both Traore’s and the legendary Bance. I don't believe they can play a full 90 mins at the same level but have reserved their best for certain periods during games. It's during these moments that they’ve struck well and scored goals at the right time.

Egypt preview

The Pharoah’s have certainly looked unremarkable so far in this tournament. They’ve yet to concede a goal and won 3 of their 4 matches by an exact 1-0 scoreline. I think they have to be respected for making it this far though because the hand they've been dealt has been a poor one. All of their games have been played at the horrific Port-Gentil Stadium which has the worst pitch in the tournament by a million miles. This certainly doesn’t suit Egypt who are a strong technical side. It will be interesting to see how they play on an improved surface, it might actually bring out the beat in them. I have a feeling the Pharaohs have something in reserve that we’ve yet to see at this tournament. They are unbeaten in 23 African Nation Cup matches and have a terrific historical record in the semi finals.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Egypt have now been installed as the favourites to win this competition. However, I’m not entirely sure what they’ve done so far to deserve this accolade. In this particular contest, Hector Cuper’s side look a little bit too short on a -0.25 handicap. So far, Burkina Faso have looked like the better side and will be boosted by the fact they’ve been based at this Libreville venue all tournament. Egypt have had 24 hours less recovery time and I’m not so sure what they’ll have in their legs following a brutally tough physical group stage on an awkward surface. However, on a more positive note they should enjoy this improved pitch and it should bring out the best in their technical players. I’m going to roll the dice and back over 1.75 goals. This line has covered in every single Burkina Faso match so far and I think Egypt have more to give. This is a risk because a semi final in any major competition could easily end in a tight 0-0 , but at these sort of odds I’m willing to give it a go.

Prediction: Burkina Faso 2-2 Egypt

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 1.75 goals @ 1.89 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)