Egypt’s penalty victory over Burkina Faso on Wednesday saw them equal Ghana’s record of appearing in nine African Cup of Nations finals, and they will now be hoping to extend their own tournament record and clinch a record ninth trophy.
The match against Burkina Faso didn’t go particularly smoothly. They defended fantastically as usual but despite Mohamed Salah’s second half opener they couldn’t see out another clean sheet. In the end it was taken to penalties and came down to the oldest player in African Cup of Nations history – 44 year old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary – to make the difference. He will now be looking for his fifth African Cup of Nations trophy.
That second half goal against Burkina Faso was the first goal Egypt have conceded this tournament, and prior to that they had gone a huge 613 minutes without conceding a single goal. They have the excellently organised and disciplined Ali Gabr and Ahmed Hegazy to thank for that.
Cameroon are largely lacking in star quality considering some of their previous squads, but despite this they have managed to defy the odds and make it to the final. They have been clear underdogs in both the quarter finals and the semi-finals; first beating Senegal on penalties and then comfortably beating a dismal Ghana on Thursday night.
This extends their own unbeaten streak to 12 matches, but six of their last nine have ended all square, so a win against favourites Egypt could be a step too far for them.
Both of these teams adopt a defensive strategy, Egypt in particular. Even when they do attack it tends to be late in the day, with five of their last six goals coming in the second half and four of them coming in the final ten minutes. Egypt have scored just one first half goal in their last six matches and have conceded none, leading to five of their last six games being goalless at the break.
PREDICTION: EGYPT WIN 1-0