Egypt reach Africa Cup of Nations final after gripping shootout

They knock out Burkina Faso and are on course for title No 8

BY Raf Diallo 21:59 Wednesday 1 February 2017, 21:59 1 Feb 2017

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary reacts during the African Cup of Nations semifinal soccer match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Stade de l'Amitie, in Libreville, Gabon, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Egypt are on course for an eighth Africa Cup of Nations triumph after a penalty shootout victory over Burkina Faso paved their way to Sunday's final.

While Burkina Faso had the better of the 90 minutes plus extra time, it was the Pharaohs who took the lead in the second half.

Star player Mohamed Salah of Serie A side Roma struck a left footed shot that found the net on 66 minutes.

But Burkina Faso fought back and were level within eight minutes as Aristide Bance controlled a ball into the box and fired past Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary to make it 1-1.

Neither side could find a winner in normal time and after a goalless extra time period, penalty shootouts were the inevitable conclusion.

Burkina Faso made the better start in the shootout as Alain Traore converted and Egypt's Abdallah El Said missed his spot kick.

Burkina Faso's Aristide Bance, 3rd left, scores his side's first goal during the African Cup of Nations semifinal soccer match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Stade de l'Amitie, in Libreville, Gabon, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

With The Stallions leading, the shootout turned on its head when Burkina Faso goalkeeper Kouakou Herve Koffi, who had saved from El Said earlier, surprisingly stepped up to take a penalty - only to miss as El Hadary saved.

That allowed Egypt to level the scores with Salah converting his.

The Pharaohs then went 4-3 up thanks to Amr Warda's effort. Bertrand Traore needed to score Burkina Faso's last penalty to force the shootout into sudden death but El Hadary saved again to help Egypt into the final for the first time since 2010.

Egypt, who are managed by ex-Valencia manager Hector Cuper, have already won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles and would extend that record further if they can win again on Sunday.

They will face the winner of Thursday's semi final between four time champions and 2015 runners up Ghana and another four time champion in the shape of Cameroon's Indomitable Lions. Kick off will be 7pm Irish time.

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