Thursday, February 2, 2017

Egypt win shootout to reach AFCON final

Egypt on Wednesday qualified for the final of the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after beating Burkina Faso 4- 3 on penalties .

The game went to penalties after finishing 1-1 at the end of extra time .
A sumptuous strike by Mohamed Salah in the 66th minute looked to have record seven - time champions Egypt heading into Sunday ’ s final.

But Burkina Faso were level just seven minutes later thanks to Aristide Bance, the goal the first conceded by the Egyptians at this Cup of Nations , and there was no further scoring .
Meanwhile, the nearly men of African football in recent years , Ghana go into a sixth consecutive semi - final at the Cup of Nations when they face Cameroon in Franceville on Thursday, AFP reports .

The Black Stars have not won the trophy since 1982, instead gaining a reputation for coming up just short all too often over the last decade.
Avram Grant ’ s side lost on penalties to the Ivory Coast in the final two years ago , while their current run of near misses began with a 1-0 last-four defeat to Cameroon at home in Accra in 2008.

But in Gabon they have seemed like a side on a mission to end their long title drought and a 2-1 quarter -final win over DR Congo in Oyem on Sunday , secured thanks to a goal each from the Ayew brothers, took them through to the last four .

“ It ’ s not just by chance but by the hard work the team has put in, ” Ghana’ s assistant coach Maxwell Konadu told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the Black Stars ’ consistency at the tournament.

“ The players are always willing to do something for their nation . One thing we all dream to achieve is to win the cup this time around . ”
Konadu confirmed that Ghana are hopeful of having skipper Asamoah Gyan –a survivor of the 2008 squad – back fit from the adductor injury suffered in their last group game against Egypt and that kept him out of the DR Congo win .

The sedate town of Franceville , set amidst lush green rolling hills around the Mpassa river , was the venue for Cameroon’ s penalty shoot- out win over Senegal in the last round .
So while Ghana had to travel to the south- east of Gabon from Oyem, Cameroon were able to stay at their base in the nearby town of Moanda , one of the biggest manganese producers in the world .

There Hugo Broos ’ s side have been preparing in the knowledge they have already exceeded expectations in making it this far .
Their build- up has been slightly tarnished over a disagreement relating to bonuses , with Broos saying the country ’ s federation has shown the team “ a lack of respect” .
But the coach insisted that the issue would not be held up as an excuse if their run ends here .

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