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Bertrand Traore impresses, but Burkina Faso lose AFCON opener

It wasn't a great start to the Africa Cup of Nations for Burkina Faso, who lost 2-0 in their opening match against Gabon, so Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore won't remember the match particularly fondly. But that doesn't mean he wasn't impressive.

The 19-year-old was fairly obviously Burkina Faso's best player, and the only outfield player at anything like a similar level was Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Whom you might have heard of. It wasn't his best game -- his finishing wasn't quite up to snuff, particularly in the second half when he wasted a one-on-one with Didier Ovono (who put in a remarkable performance) -- but he was still excellent. His passing was smart and composed, he was ghosting past defenders like they weren't there, and he even produced a couple of chances through headed layoffs.

At one point in the second half Traore pulled off a pretty fantastic Eden Hazard impression, starting at the corner flag from a standing position and turning his man inside out as he drove at goal. He might not have grabbed a goal or an assist, and his team might have lost, but the youngster we've been tracking since he joined Chelsea in 2010 is starting to emerge as a serious talent at the international level.

Hopefully he can get his finishing right and help get Burkina Faso into the knockout rounds despite this early setback.

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