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AFCON Update: Will Egypt make it eight?

Africa’s most successful team meets Cameroon in final.

Olympics Day 2 - Men's Football - Egypt v New Zealand
Mohamed Salah leads Egypt in the final against Cameroon.
Photo by Francis Bompard/Getty Images

The finals are now set in the Africa Cup of Nations, with seven time champion Egypt facing Cameroon in the finals of the tournament. The two losing semifinalists, Burkina Faso and Ghana, will play Saturday in a third place match while Egypt and Cameroon will play Sunday to determine the 2017 Champion of Africa.

Egypt ended Burkina Faso’s magical run in the 2017 AFCON after beating them 4-3 on penalties after ending extra time tied at one goal each. Egypt took the lead in the game in the 66th minute after a goal from Roma star, and former Chelsea player, Mohamed Salah, only to have Aristide Bance level the match soon after, in the 73rd minute. Burkina Faso had a dramatic difference in possession and shots, having 61% of possession and leading in shots 24 to 6 and shots on goal eight to two. Despite the dominance, Burkina Faso was unable to break through the resolute Egyptian defense, and the Egyptian goalkeeper, 44 year old Essam El Hadary, was able to save two of the five penalties in the final shoot-out.

In the second semi-final, Cameroon was able to beat Ghana in a well-played match that both teams go on the attack and not retreat into defensive shells. Columbus Crew defender Harrison Afful made a brilliant clearance off the goal line for Ghana after Cameroon’s Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui made a good move to get open and get a clear shot on goal from a corner in the first half. Ghana’s Jordan Ayew, who will be playing for a different team when he gets back from AFCON than when he left after leaving Aston Villa for Swansea City, missed a good shot on goal shortly before the end of the half. Ghana had a good deal of sustained pressure at the beginning of the second half, with a number of good chances produced by Frank Acheampong, Jordan Ayew, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, and a wonderful free kick outside the Cameroon box from former Villarreal and Celtic player Mubarak Wakaso that was set up by an explosive run from Newcastle’s Christian Atsu.

Cameroon scored after a horrible blunder by Ghana. After a Benjamin Moukandjo free kick, Ghana’s John Boye headed the ball into a dangerous area while Brimah Razak, the Ghanaian keeper, went to catch the ball and missed. The confusion meant that the ball was not cleared at all and Cameroon’s Ngadeu-Ngadjui was able to capitalize on the mistake and score for the Indomitable Lions. A late insurance goal by Christian Bassogog sealed the victory in stoppage time after an extremely poor cross from Ghana lead to a swift counter-attack by Cameroon.