Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Traore fires Burkina Faso to top of Group C
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Alain Traore inspires Burkina Faso to an emphatic victory over Ethiopia as they take control of Group C
An Alain Traore-inspired Burkina Faso took a giant step towards qualification from Group C in the Africa Cup of Nations after thrashing Ethiopia, despite being down to 10 men.
Traore grabbed two, Djakaridja Kone’s finish and Jonathan Pitroipa’s goal settled the tie, while goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama was sent off to take the shine off Burkina’s first Afcon win since 1998.
Ethiopia started dangerously as Saladin Said showed great awareness to smartly flick his pass towards Shemeles Bekele, who placed his fourth-minute shot against the post.
With the game growing in liveliness, Ethiopian midfielder Asrat Megersa tried his luck from range but hoisted his effort handsomely wide.
Burkina Faso thought they opened the scoring in the 21st minute, but Wilfried Sanou’s net-buster was correctly ruled offside.
However, the Stallions continued their assault and Bundesliga striker Aristide Bance was denied in the 34th minute by Degu Debebe’s goal-line clearance.
But seconds later, the unmarked Traore scored his second goal of the tournament by smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
Bakary Kone aimed to quickly double the advantage, but the youthful Olympique Lyonnais defender failed to steer Traore’s dangerous free-kick on target.
Burkinabe goalkeeper Soulama was almost left red-faced, as Bekele nearly pinched the ball from under his feet shortly after the interval.
Burkina Faso looked full of confidence, but Paul Put’s side suffered a self-inflicted setback with Soulama dismissed on the hour mark for foolishly handling outside the box.
After subsequent substitutions to strengthen the Burkinabe defence, Traore crashed an absolute stunner beyond the hapless Tadele in the 74th minute to double the lead.
The Stallions punished Ethiopia even further, as Kone completed a swift counter-attacking move by sliding his shot into the net with 79 minutes played.
Said looked for a consolation for the Walya Antelopes, but his powerful strike was caught on second attempt by substitute shot-stopper Daouda Diakite.
Pitroipa added gloss to the score in stoppage time, as another counter-attack ripped Ethiopia apart and the Rennes winger side-footed his shot home.
Burkina Faso face reigning champions Zambia in their remaining group fixture and will hope to seal passage into the last eight.