Senegal is through to a second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations final after breaking Burkina Faso hearts in their last-four tie in Yaounde on Wednesday, Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gana Gueye, and Sadio Mane scoring second-half goals to secure a 3-1 victory.
Africa’s top-ranked national team, Senegal will find out their opponents in Sunday’s final on Thursday, when hosts Cameroon take on Egypt in the second semi.
“We dedicate this win to our people,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.
“We are really satisfied this evening. Our objective is to win the trophy because that is what the boys deserve given everything they have put into this.”
Cisse’s side had two penalties awarded in the first half only for the Ethiopian referee to change his mind both times following a VAR review.
However, they went ahead just after the midway point in the second period when Paris Saint-Germain defender Diallo popped up in the box to produce a striker’s finish.
The second arrived on 76 minutes as Mane provided a superb assist for Gueye, also of PSG, to score, and Mane completed the win late on after Blati Toure had pulled a goal back.
Senegal’s two possible final opponents are the most successful sides in AFCON history with 12 titles between them, while the Lions of Teranga are still searching for their first continental crown, two and a half years after losing to Algeria in the final in Cairo.
“We knew it was not going to be at all easy to get to two straight AFCON finals, but the most important for us now is to go all the way and win it, whoever we come up against,” said Mane.
Senegal’s opponents here could not be underestimated.
Burkina Faso has shown itself to be a talented young side and one driven by the desire to give joy to supporters in a country reeling after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was overthrown in a military coup last week.
That happened to a backdrop of a jihadist insurgency in the landlocked country, and their coach, Kamou Malo, talked of the events giving his team “added motivation”.