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Thursday, February 2, 2017

AFCON: Egypt beat Burkina Faso to qualify for final

The Pharaohs of Egypt beat Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties after a -1 draw at Libreville in Gabon, to qualify for Sunday’s final match and a chance at winning a record eighth title.

Egypt’s goalkeeper and captain Essam El Hadary on Wednesday emerged the shooting range hero to send the Pharaohs through to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final match. Egypt went through to the AFCON final in Gabon after beating Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalty kicks in the semi-finals. 

El Hadary, who turned 44 this month, is already the oldest footballer to play at a Nations Cup and he showed he was not just there for the record. The match itself was an epic, with neither team having tasted defeat in Gabon, and seven-time champions Egypt were yet to concede a goal. The match in Libreville ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, with Mohamed Salah’s 66th minute opener for Egypt cancelled out by Aristide Bance seven minutes later.

A sumptuous strike by Salah in the 66th minute looked to have record seven-time champions Egypt heading into Sunday’s final. But Burkina Faso were level just seven minutes later, the first conceded by the Egyptians at this Cup of Nations, and there was no further scoring.

With no further scoring it went to a shoot-out where Essam El Hadary’s save from Bertrand Traore’s last kick for Burkina Faso gave Egypt the victory. They will now play against either Ghana or Cameroon in Sunday’s final. 

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