Burkina Faso Clinches AFCON Quarterfinal Place With Epic 9-Round Penalty Shootout Win

Gabon's players are now free to go clubbing with Aubameyang.

Burkina Faso is the first nation through to the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals after a wild victory over Gabon that included a missed penalty in regular time, a red card, a 91st-minute equalizer for 10-man Gabon and a dramatic penalty shootout.

The buildup to the match was dominated by more Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang revelations. The 32-year-old striker never made an appearance at AFCON after testing positive for COVID-19 before Gabon's first match against Ghana, and it was then reported that a diagnosis of heart lesions resulted in the early release of both Aubameyang and Mario Lemina back to their club sides.

However, L'Equipe reported Sunday that the process hadn't been as straight forward. Those reports say that after being told he couldn't play, Aubameyang refused to accept the decision — to the point where Gabon manager Patrice Neveu called Aubameyang's father to have him intervene and discipline his son.

Aubameyang and Lemina then left the team hotel and went clubbing in Yaoundé. 

So Gabon had Clermont's Jim Allevinah and Al-Arabi's Aaron Boupendza leading the line on Sunday, but Burkina Faso carved out the first massive chance in the 18th minute after a foul in the area put Bertrand Traoré on the spot.

However, the Aston Villa forward cracked his effort off the crossbar.

But Traoré made amends 10 minutes later by guiding home Dango Ouattara's sensational through ball.

Gabon's attempted comeback looked dusted in the 67th minute after Sidney Obissa was sent off for a second yellow, but one minute into second-half stoppage time, the Panthers found an unlikely equalizer. 

In a mass of bodies, Burkina Faso's Adama Guira planted a downward header into his own net.

Burkina Faso came closest to a winner in extra time, but we eventually went to a penalty shootout. 

The first team to falter in the shootout was Gabon, which saw its fourth spot kick saved by Hervé Koffi. Burkina Faso had a chance to take the lead with just one round remaining, but that crucial kick was launched over the frame of goal.

Both teams buried their fifth attempts, brining us to sudden death. The sides converted their spot kicks in subsequent rounds, but then it was Gabon's turn to launch one into orbit. Burkina Faso had a chance to end it in round eight, but Gabon's Jean-Noël Amonome pulled off a spectacular save.

Into round nine we went, and Gabon immediately went back on the hook with an effort off the underside of the crossbar. Again Burkina Faso had the opportunity to end it and this time the Stallions took advantage with Ismahila Ouedraogo converting.  

Look at what it meant to Herve Koffi.

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