from DIDIER NDONG in Libreville, Gabon
LIBREVILLE – RECORD-holders Egypt are on course to reclaim the most prized asset in African football after qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations final set for Sunday.
The Pharaohs, who have won the title seven times, overcame a resistant Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties in a dramatic match in Libreville’s Stade de I’Amitie.
Veteran goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary (44) was the hero of the evening after stopping two penalties and pulling off a series of superb saves inside 120 minutes.
Earlier, the North Africans had taken a 65th minute lead through a sublime effort from the evergreen Mohamed Salah.
Seven minutes later, the Stallions leveled after a crisp finish by big striker Aristide Bance.
Qualifying for the final completed a remarkable journey for Egypt, playing in their first tournament after a seven-year absence.
They will play Cameroon or Ghana 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.
The Indomitable Lions and Black Stars meet in Franceville in the second semi-final on Thursday.
Burkina Faso will player the loser for the third/fourth place playoff.
– CAJ News