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Commentary Box: Take your chances

Football is a game where moments count. Many players are presented with various moments during the course of the match and those who take those moments are what separates the men from the boys.

This is most evident during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament where big teams such as Senegal and Morocco have seen their trophy dreams dashed, because of wastefulness in front of goal.

For example, Senegal had 61 per cent of the possession and had 19 shots at goal, but could not score one goal. Cameroon in contrast only had 12 shots on goal and looked less likely to score as the match went to penalties. As fate may have it Senegal’s best player, Sadio Mané missed his penalty and Cameroon converted all their penalties to progress to the semi-final.

Morocco also learned a hard lesson as they had at least three good chances to score against Egypt in their quarter-final, but missed the net when it seemed easier to score. Football in these highly competitive international tournaments leaves absolutely no room for error.

In contrast Egypt and Ghana for instance have taken there opportunities in front of goal and are safely through to the quarter finals. With the semi-finals looming these two sides might once again lock horns in the final as they did in 2008.

Burkina Faso have also been in good form and are a dangerous attacking force, but will have to be the first side to break Egypt’s clean sheet during AFCON 2017.  Egypt’s 44-year old captain and goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary, has been brilliant in goal and it will take something special to beat him.

On paper, Ghana and Egypt should qualify for the final, but we all know football is played on grass.

Africa Cup of Nations: (Semi-final fixtures)

Cameroon vs Burkina Faso – 1 February at 20:00

Egypt vs Ghana – 2 February at 20:00

  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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