Egypt Pharaohs, seven times African champions have qualified for the finals of the African Nations Cup, edging out Burkina Faso in penalty shoot out at the semi-final match played at Stade de L’Amitie in Libreville Wednesday night.
Egypt scored first via Mohamed Salah in the 66th minute. Burkina Faso’s Aristide Bance equalised seven minutes after.
Despite 47 minutes of additional play, including extra-time, neither side could break the deadlock.
Hence the penalty shootout, which Egypt won 5-3. Burkina Faso had raised hope of their fans of qualifying for the final, after Egypt missed their third kick and Burkina Faso scored, making scores 3-2.
But a dramatic twist occurred thereafter as Burkina Faso missed their fourth kick, while Salah scored for Egypt levelling the scores at 3-3. Then Burkina missed their final kick while Egypt scored, ending the scoreline for the penalty kicks at 4-3.
Egypt are making the final after a seven-year absence.
Argentine Coach of Egypt, Hector Cuper had said the team are chasing a “dream that is getting closer and closer with each game”.
Egypt won three successive titles between 2006 and 2010 but then did not qualify for the next three editions of the tournament.
“History is very important and I know all of Egypt expects but my job has been to prepare this side for the Nations Cup without looking back at what happened in the past,” the Argentine coach said on Tuesday.
“We wanted to come here and just do well but now that we have got this far our ambition is now to go on and reach the final and win the cup.”
Egypt drew their opening game with Mali and then snatched a last-minute winner against Uganda before beating Ghana to top Group D.
They then edged past edged Morocco 1-0 in Sunday’s quarter-final.
“I believe in their capabilities but I’ve been amazed by their determination,” added former Valencia and Inter Milan boss Cuper of his 23-man squad.
“I’ve never seen a group of players who love their country so much. They, as a new generation of players, have high ambitions to win an eighth title for Egypt. I feel that dream is coming true.”