Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire – Burkina Faso secured a hard-fought victory against Mauritania in the opening game of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d'Ivoire 2023. The Stallions emerged victorious, claiming all three points in a late-game drama.
The Stallions' goalkeeper, Havre Koffi, played a crucial role in keeping his team in the game, making critical saves when needed.
Bertrand Traore, brought on as a substitute for Cedric Badolo, aimed to bolster Burkina Faso's attacking threats.
He came close to breaking the deadlock with a curled shot from the penalty box, but Mauritanian goalkeeper Babacar Niasse denied the attempt.
The decisive moment occurred in the closing stages of the game when Issa Kabore was brought down in the box. After a VAR review, a penalty was awarded to Burkina Faso.
Substitute Bertrand Traore stepped up and calmly converted, securing the crucial three points and setting Burkina Faso on course for the tournament.
Burkina Faso's next challenge will be against Algeria on January 20 in their second group-stage encounter.
In recognition of his impactful performance, Blati Touré was named Man of the Match. Touré, a midfielder for Burkina Faso, expressed his happiness for the team's success and downplayed his award, stating, “I am very happy for the entire team. I simply put myself at the disposal of the team, and I am very happy with the victory. It was not easy, and we believed in it until the end.”
Despite the late win, Blati acknowledged the strength of the Mauritanian team, describing them as a “very good team” and commending their organization. He emphasized Burkina Faso's determination as the key factor in defining the result.