AFCON: Egypt On Course To Win Record 8th Title

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Egypt’s prospects of winning the continental title for the eighth time is on track as the Pharaohs advanced to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final after beating Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night played at the Stade de I’Amitie in Gabon’s capital city, Libreville.

The Stallions did most of the attacking in the opening stages of the game as they looked to break the deadlock against the Pharaohs, who were sitting too deep.

Razack Traore, the Burkina Faso forward, found some space outside the Egypt box in the fourth minute and he unleashed a low shot which was well saved by Essam El-Hadary.

The Pharaohs did threaten in the 38th minute when Kahraba turned and unleashed a shot on goal, but keeper Herve Koffi pushed the ball away.

With five minutes left before the break, Razack Traore beat his marker on the edge of the Egypt box, before forcing El-Hadary into a decent save.

Nevertheless, the score was 0-0 at the interval as the Stallions and Pharaohs failed to find the back of the net.

The Stallions had a chance to break the deadlock from a free-kick just outside the Egypt box, but he was denied by El-Hadary, who was well-positioned.

The oldest player to ever appear in Afcon finals, El-Hadary, 44, was having a good game for Pharaohs, who were happy to sit back and launch counter attacks.

Their strategy paid off in the 65th minute as a quick move saw Mohamed Salah scoring with an outrageous finish into the top corner from range to make it 1-0 to Egypt.

However, the lead only lasted for seven minutes as Aristide Bance controlled the ball beautifully in the Egypt box, before making 1-1 with a good finish.

El-Hadary pulled off magnificent saves in the dying minutes of the game to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 draw in regulation time and extra-time followed.

Burkina Faso head coach Paulo Duarte made a change in the 102th minute, introducing striker Alain Traore as the Stallions looked for the winning goal.

However, the well-travelled forward was unable to inspire his nation to victory, and the match ended in a goalless draw, and a penalty shootout followed.

The experienced El-Hadary proved to be the hero for his nation as he saved two spot-kicks and Egypt won 4-3 on penalties.

The seven-time Afcon champions Egypt will now take on the winner between Ghana and Cameroon in this year’s final on Sunday.

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