Soccer News of Tuesday, 5 February 2013

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Burkina Faso coach claims Mbombela advantage

Paul Put, coach of Burkina Faso believes the Mbombela Stadium pitch will favour his side more than Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash.
Both teams meet on meet on Wednesday on the sand-covered surface in Nelspruit.
The Black Stars, who arrived in Nelspruit on Monday afternoon have played all their games at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium pitch in Port Elizabeth and will have only one session at the Mbombela Stadium on the eve of the match.
However, the Stallions have already played all four of their matches at the tournament on the pitch.
"It's always an advantage [having played on the pitch] but Ghana is also a technical team and a physical team as well," Put said.
"But it's still an advantage for us as we are playing in a 'home' game.
"Even though the pitch is very bad it's our home stadium and we have nothing to lose as no one expected us to play in the semi-finals."
The Stallions coach also added that his players have adapted their game to suit the surface.
"It's very difficult because you need one or two controls before you can play the ball, while on the training ground its only one touch.
"So I told the players to be patient and stay well organised because with this pitch you never know.
"With one error they can kick your head off, so we have to be careful."
Wednesday clash will be the first ever semi-final between both nations at the African competition.
Ghana have the upper hand over Burkina Faso at the Nations Cup finals, having won all three encounters between the two.
In 1978, the then Upper Volta lost 3-0 while in 2002 the Black Stars won 2-1 and most recently they triumphed 1-0 in 2010 - all the matches were in the group stages of the tournament