Essam El Hadary Earns Egypt AFCON Final Ticket After Heroics Against Burkina Faso

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Egyptian national team goalkeeper Essam El Hadary was named man of the match in Wednesday night’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final victory over Burkina Faso at the Stade de I’Amitie in Libreville.

The 44-year-old goalkeeper, who is now the oldest player to have taken part in an AFCON match, helped his side to a win over Burkina Faso after a 1-1 draw in normal time gave way to the lottery of penalties, with the Pharaohs winning the shootout 4-3.

The North Africans managed that admirable achievement after El Hadary saved two of the spot-kicks, with Bertrand Traore and Herve Koffi both unable to beat the veteran goalkeeper in the shootout.

Egypt took the lead in the match, with Roma striker Mohamed Salah scoring another of his world-class goals with a strike from range cruising into the top corner in the 65th minute.

Essam El Hadary to the rescue

Burkina Faso dominated the match in great parts, but El Hadary and his disciplined defence kept the Stallions at bay, until the 72nd minute of the encounter, when Aristide Bance controlled the ball in the box before firing home to level matters.

The Egyptian goalkeeper continued to frustrate his opponents, leading to extra time and eventually penalties, at which point the Pharaohs did what needed to be done to progress to the final of the competition in Gabon.

The fine display despite a resolute and determined Burkina Faso means that Egypt go into the final on Sunday with 24 straight matches unbeaten in the AFCON.

In the title decider they will face the winner of the second semi-final between the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Black Stars of Ghana.

That match will take place on Thursday night, and Hector Cuper’s Egyptian national team will no doubt be watching the match with great anticipation.