Preview: Burkina Faso v Egypt

Burkina Faso and Egypt go head-to-head in the first 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final at the Stade d'Angondje in Libreville on Wednesday.

While the Stallions defeated Tunisia 2–0 in their quarter-final clash on Saturday, the Pharaohs remained on course for their eighth AFCON title when they ended a 31-year wait for victory against bitter north African rivals Morocco with a 1-0 win on Sunday night.

The last time Egypt progressed to the semis, in 2010, they went on to win the tournament for a third straight title. They may be the favourites to go through in this game but will be wise not to underestimate the West African nation.

Hector Cuper's Pharaohs have impressed thus far and are yet to concede with 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary in outstanding form while Paulo Duarte's charges have scored in all four of their matches.

Cuper has also refused to use their shorter preparation time as an excuse ahead of the game, with Burkina Faso having had a full 24 hours extra to recover from their semi-final excursions.

He said: "These are the rules and regulations of CAF and we have to respect them which we will do.
 
"For us we will work on our players, of course they are very tired, very exhausted but we will work on the recovery and if in case we find that some of them are exhausted then we will have to make some changes for the next game."

Paulo Duarte, who is in his second spell in charge of Burkina Faso, has meanwhile said his side will be mentally ready to face Egypt on Wednesday.

He explained: "My mission is always to win the next match.

“My ambition in this competition is to go as far as possible and this is the same thing shared by the opponents. I always build a team that can be mentally strong and has the willingness to win and always stays positive and always wants to go to the next stage.

“Of course we want to go as far as possible like we did in 2013 but we have to take it step by step, each match as it comes. As l told you last time the players are improving with each match and increasing their level of humility.

“We need to remain with the same humility no matter which opponent we play. We want to bring something positive for the people of Burkina Faso."

In team news, while Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is sidelined for Egypt through a calf injury, striker Marwan Mohsen is a doubt after picking up a knee injury.

Burkina Faso have not reported any new injuries after Jonathan Pitroipa and Jonathan Zongo were ruled out in the opening week of the tournament.

The winner of this semi-final will face one of Cameroon or Ghana in Sunday's final.

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