AFCON 2021: 3 things we learnt as Senegal rode past Burkina Faso into the final

Senegal will take on the winner of Cameron vs Egypt in the final

Sadio Mane and his Senegal teammates celebrate after they beat Equatorial Guinea 3-1

Senegal cruised into their second consecutive final at the 2021 African Cup Nations (AFCON). Inspired by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, they rode over Burkina Faso to a 3-1 win in the first semi-final clash at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, in Yaounde.

But what lessons were on offer as Senegal crowned their run at the AFCON with a Final berth?

An over-ambitious attempt by Burkina Faso's goalkeeper Herve Koffi to stop Senegal's Cheikhou Kouyate from scoring was the first turning point for this game. To that point, the game had seen lots of attacking intent from both sides, and end-to-end play.

While Koffi's plan to stop Kouyate might have worked, it came at the cost of Burkina Faso being forced to substitute their most reliable goalkeeper, after he sustained an injury from the save. For Koffi, he had conceded three goals in the prior four matches when he was in goal at this AFCON. His replacement Farid Ouedraogo has conceded four in just two games - three of them coming against Senegal.

Blati Touré’s unconventional finish late in the game means that Senegal have now conceded in back-to-back games in Cameroon.

For a side who prided themselves on their defensive prowess in their first four games at the competition, it seems like Senegal have abandoned their 'prevent them from scoring mentality' to focus more on an 'outscore them' mentality. Little wonder why they've tilted from scoring just once in three games at the group stages, without conceding any, to scoring eight in three knockout games, conceding twice.

After putting up a solid performance in the first half, Burkina Faso came into the second half looking like a shadow of themselves.

Although they maintained their ability to be brilliant when on the attack, they hugely contributed to Senegal rupturing their defence and putting goals past them.

Senegal's first was about poor clearance as Kalidou Koulibaly's overhead kick was finished off by Abdou Diallo; the second second was a case of leaving a dangerous Mane with just one defender to contend with in the left-back position. For Senegal's third, miscommunication between two Burkinabe ended with the ball at Mane's feet.

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