African Soccer 1.2.2017 11:56 pm

El Hadary takes Egypt into Cup of Nations final

Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary (C) celebrates with teammates at the end of the penalty shootout of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on February 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary (C) celebrates with teammates at the end of the penalty shootout of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on February 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary’s save from Bertrand Traore’s spot-kick allowed Egypt to beat Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties on Wednesday as they secured their place in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

A tense match in Libreville had ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, with Mohamed Salah’s superb 66th-minute opener for the Egyptians quickly cancelled out by Aristide Bance for Burkina Faso.

Abdallah El Said missed Egypt’s first penalty in the shoot-out but El Hadary kept the Pharaohs in it when he saved from opposing goalkeeper Herve Koffi, and the 44-year-old veteran then denied Traore from the last kick of the shoot-out.

For Egypt, the record seven-time champions of Africa, the win completes a remarkable journey all the way to the final in their first appearance in the tournament after a seven-year absence.

They will play Cameroon or Ghana in the final in Gabon’s capital on Sunday as they look to reclaim a trophy they had won three times in a row between 2006 and 2010 before their fall from grace.

Cameroon and Ghana meet in Franceville in the second semi-final on Thursday.

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