Botswana's goal peppered, Boussifi makes it count & Pitroipa's dribbling problem

ZonalMarking.net's Michael Cox uses the FREE Africa Cup of Nations version of Stats Zone to analise the latest action from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations...

Jonathan Pitroipa is by far Burkina Faso’s most famous attacking player, although in this tournament he’s seemingly well aware of that, and has been trying to shoulder too much of the creative burden.

The Rennes player has spent much of the tournament trying to dribble past players, with mixed success. In the two matches he’s played, against the Ivory Coast and Angola, he’s completed 10 of the attempted 19 take-ons, with the success rate dropping the closer he gets to goal. He’s clearly a talented player and specialises at running with the ball, but he might be better off having more faith in his teammates in the final third.

You won’t find a more efficient striking performance than that of Ihab Boussifi in Libya’s 2-1 win over Senegal.

Boussifi only received the ball twice in the penalty box and only attempted two shots, but converted both chances to secure a famous victory, and confirm Senegal’s early exit.

Like Abubakr al Abaidy, highlighted last week for his good display from full-back (http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/africacupofnations2012/archive/2012/01/26/i...), Boussifi plays for Libyan club Nasr – if this is a fair reflection of the talent at the club based in Benina, it might be worth scouts checking out their other players.

Gabon’s thrilling late win over Morocco will go down as one of the best games of the tournament, and was also notable for some extraordinary tackling statistics – 80% were successful, with the vast majority occurring in the defending side’s half of the pitch.

It’s surprising that five goals were scored in a game where the defending sides were so precise with their tackling. Morocco’s left-back Badr El Kaddouri was the most prolific tackler, completing all seven of his attempted tackles – he’s responsible for the line in the top-left of Morocco’s tacking screen.

Finally, Botswana’s terrible display against Guinea resulted in a 6-1 defeat, likely to be the largest win of the tournament. Even more shocking than the concession of six goals was the fact Botswana allowed Guinea an amazing 30 shots on goal – one every three minutes.

Defending is clearly a real problem for Botswana – they let Ghana have 19 attempts in the previous game. However, mere qualification for the first time in their history is a huge achievement for the side, and they should be able to use this experience to their benefit in future.

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