Burkina Faso to make 2013 the second year of the underdog

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Burkina Faso’s seemingly impenetrable defence makes them an excellent price to win the African Cup of Nations.

At 11/2, they’re rank outsiders to lift the trophy and must overcome 6/4 favourites Ghana in their semi-final, but writing them off completely could well prove a rash move.

They can be backed at 10/3 to beat the Ghanaians in 90 minutes and, while lumping on them to qualify might be a safer bet, the defensive fortitude they’ve displayed in all of their games to reach the this stage makes the Black Stars’ 10/11 price one to avoid.

Ok, so winning games hasn’t exactly been Burkina’s forte – they’ve drawn five of their previous seven – nor have they enthralled spectators with fantastic football, but they have proved the toughest of nuts to crack and only a fool would chalk their keeping six clean sheets in seven up to good fortune.

It’s fair to say that Ghana are the one team they would have wanted to swerve of all the other semi-finalists; the Black Stars recovered from a 2-2 opening-game draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo to win the next three games without conceding a goal. Still, if the Stallions stick to the defensive principles that have served them so well thus far, there’s no reason why they can’t frustrate their next adversaries into semi-final submission.

They’ve proved countless doubters wrong by advancing unscathed from a group containing Nigeria and reigning champions Zambia, then they went one better by holding firm to deny Emmanuel Adebayor and his Togolese teammates the win they were expected to canter to at their expense.

Zambia’s achievements in the tournament last term are testament to how far the ability to keep it tight at the back can take you and their penalty-shootout victory over the heavily-backed Ivory Coast in the final bears many of the same David v Goliath connotations that this last-four tussle draws.

Everybody knows it’s always best to side with David in this situation and, at such long odds, it’s got to be worth having a punt on the well-organised Stallions for an unlikely tournament win.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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