Egypt reached a record-tying ninth Africa Cup of Nations final on Wednesday when they defeated Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 through regular and extra time.
The Pharaohs took a defensive approach into the game with Burkina Faso being the more adventurous side. Despite Burkina Faso’s 24 shots, compared to Egypt’s six, they could only find the back of the net once throughout 120 minutes.
Much of the game lacked quality, but Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah provided a moment of brilliance in the 66th minute from just outside the box when he curled the ball first-time with his left foot into the top left corner of the goal.
The lead only lasted seven minutes. Burkina Faso’s Charles Kabore chipped the ball into the box looking for someone to get on the end of it. After just going over an Egyptian defender’s head, Aristide Bance was there to chest the ball down before volleying it low into the left side of the goal.
Extra time brought little chances and the game would be decided by spot-kicks.
Despite early heroics in the shootout from Burkina Faso’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Herve Koffi, Egypt’s veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary stepped up to send his side through to the final. Koffi, who took his side’s fourth penalty, saw his spot-kick saved by the four-time Cup of Nations champion. El Hadary secured the victory for Egypt when he saved Burkina Faso’s fifth and final penalty taken by Chelsea-owned youngster Bertrand Traore.
Egypt, who have now won their last six Cup of Nations semi-finals, will await the winner of Thursday’s match between Ghana and Cameroon. If they are successful on Sunday, Egypt will hold a tournament record eight titles.