Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Togo set to face Burkina Faso for last-four spot
Africa Cup of Nations preview: Alex Bysouth takes a look at the clash between Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo and Burkina Faso
Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor leads Togo into an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final clash with Burkina Faso in a battle of the unlikely lads at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
With neither fancied to make it into the knockout stages, both fought off tough competition and struck a little bit of luck, to keep their Afcon dreams alive.
Former Manchester City forward Adebayor witnessed his side go down to an Ivory Coast outfit packed with Premier League prestige during their group opener.
But the Sparrow Hawks bounced back from defeat at the hands of Yaya Toure and co to progress for the first time ever in the continental competition.
After disposing of Algeria in their second outing, the Togolese made hard work of qualification during the Group D finale, relying on some controversial refereeing and a missed Tunisia penalty.
Their opponents, Burkina Faso, were undoubtedly the surprise package in Group C, going through as winners and conceding just one goal.
A score draw with Nigeria was followed up in style when they put four past Ethiopia and meant a point would secure qualification against reigning champions Zambia.
Despite an injury to influential playmaker Alain Traore, the Stallions survived a Zambian onslaught and a goalless draw cemented top spot ahead of the Super Eagles.
The injury spells the end of Traore’s competition and Burkina Faso will have to make do without the goal threat of their talisman and Afcon top-scorer in the knockout stage.
Much has been made of the poor pitch at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, having already hosted six games this tournament, as sand patches replace the grass in large areas.
The winner of Sunday’s clash will remain in Nelspruit to face either Ghana or Cape Verde in Wednesday’s semi-final.