Cuper says optimistic to break 'finals jinx' with Egypt

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Feb 2017,
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Cuper
African Cup of Nations - Semi Finals - Burkina Faso v Egypt- Stade de l'Amitie - Libreville, Gabon - 1/2/17 Egypt coach Hector Cuper Reuters

Egypt coach Hector Cuper said is optimistic he can end his own finals jinx as Egypt bid to win a record-extending eighth African Nations Cup title.

The Pharaohs defeated Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in a hard-fought semi-final clash in Liberville to reach the final on Wednesday.

Cuper is known for always failing at the last hurdle, having lost in three continental finals at the club level.

He helped modest Spanish side Real Mallorca reach the final of the UEFA Cup of Cup winners but lost 2-1 to Italian side Lazio in 1999.

The Argentinean coach also led unfancied Valencia to two UEFA Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001 but the team lost to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively.

"Despite my bad luck in the finals, I am optimistic this time with Egypt," Cuper told the post-match news conference.

Cuper admitted Burkina Faso proved a stiff opponent, laying siege to Egypt's area for the majority of the game.

"We knew it would be difficult because Burkina were powerful and very quick," he said.

"They were much fitter than us. They were even better in the second half with aggressive attacking. They wasted so many chances.

"Our players were fatigued so we aimed for the penalties because anything could happen there."

Egypt will face the winner of Thursday's clash between Cameroon and Ghana in Sunday's final.  

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Egypt
3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
Zimbabwe
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Madagascar
2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Burundi
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
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3 0 0 9
Senegal
2 0 1 6
Kenya
1 0 2 3
Tanzania
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Morocco
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
Namibia
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1