Essam El-Hadary saves two penalties as Egypt reach African Nations Cup final

Veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary saved two spot-kicks as Egypt secured a place in the African Nations Cup final with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Burkina Faso.

Mohamed Salah gave Egypt the lead midway through the second half but Aristide Bance equalised almost immediately – and became the first player to score against the Pharaohs in this year’s tournament.

With the game level at 1-1 after extra-time it was the moment for 44-year-old El-Hadary to shine, and he did just that by saving spot-kicks from counterpart Kouakou Herve Koffi and Bertrand Traore.

Burkina Faso were fastest out of the blocks in Libreville, Gabon, with Abdou Razack Traore testing El-Hadary with a 25-yard shot after just four minutes.

Egypt goalkeeper El-Hadary then flapped at a cross moments later, with Ibrahim Blati Toure almost capitalising from a lob which Ali Gabr headed off the line.

Egypt slowly worked their way into the game and midfielder Trezeguet almost broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a curling shot which flashed inches wide.

Burkina Faso duo Bertrand Traore and Prejuce Nakoulma tried their luck with long-rang shots as the first half wore on but neither troubled El-Hadary.

Koffi was also kept busy on the stroke of half-time, easily collecting a Trezeguet header and palming Kahraba’s shot, as the sides went into the break level.

El-Hadary again looked shaky when keeping out Bertrand Traore’s free-kick as the Stallions sought an opener at the start of the second half.

Egypt took the lead, though, against the run of play through former Chelsea forward Salah on 66 minutes.

The Roma winger curled the ball into the top corner with his left foot from the edge of the box after Kahraba’s neat lay-off.

Hector Cuper’s side were ahead for just seven minutes, however, after Bance expertly controlled Charles Kabore’s cross with his chest and lashed home from 10 yards.

El-Hadary turned Nakoulma’s effort round the post and Banou Diawara’s attempt over the bar but Burkina Faso were forced into extra-time.

Nakoulma came closest to breaking the deadlock in extra-time before El-Hadary handed seven-time winners Egypt a place in the final, where they will face either Ghana and Cameroon.

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