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Africa Cup of Nations 2017

El-Hadary Penalty Heroics Sends Egypt to its Ninth AFCON Final.

After 120 minutes, still, on a 1-1 draw, it all came down to who had the best shot stopper in the first AFCON Semi-Final shoot-out, on Wednesday.

Mohammed Salah curled home a brilliant effort to put the Pharaoh’s ahead in the 66th minute, arriving off the right flank to meet a lay-off from Kahra.

The Roma winger met the ball first time with a sublime strike into the top corner.

Burkina Faso’s international striker Aristide Bance came to the rescue seven minutes later, finally breaching the unbeatable Egyptian defense to level the score.

Once again, the spotlight was on Egyptian legendary goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary as he continued to make history at the African Cup of Nations.

Over two decades since his debut, the 44-year-old has a record four AFCON titles to his name and for the first part of the game, had not conceded at the Cup of Nations in over seven years.

The shootout looked to be going Burkina Faso’s way after keeper, Herve Koffi – who was coincidentally born on the day El Hadary made his debut – saved Egypt’s opening penalty from Hamed El-Said.

But a calm El-Hadary had other plans in mind. The veteran goalkeeper saved the Stallions’ fourth penalty kick from Koffi to even the score with one strike away.

When Egypt’s Amr Warda converted Egypt’s fifth to put them ahead for the first time, El-Hadary did not disappoint, saving Burkina Faso’s final penalty from Chelsea’s Bertrand Traore.

The Pharaoh’s will now proceed to the finals where they will face either, Ghana or Cameroon depending on today’s Semi-final results.

Egypt will be at an advantage since they have an extra day of rest meaning, for the first time in this competition they will be better rested for the final encounter.



Featured photo: Essam el-Hadary celebrates his decisive save as Bertrand Traore walks away in disbelief. (EPA)

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