Hosts Ivory Coast eliminated reigning AFCON champions Senegal in a penalty shootout to advance to the quarter finals. The teams were stuck in a 1-1 deadlock after extra time which was broken by a Frank Kessie penalty to seal a 5-4 shootout victory. Ivory Coast will go on to face the winner of the Mali vs Burkina Faso matchup this Saturday.
Ivory Coast barely qualified for the Round of 16, after finishing with just 3 points in the group stage. Luckily they were able to scrape through with the worst record of the four best third-placed sides to book themselves a place in the knockout stage. Senegal on the other hand were the only team in the competition to win all three of their group stage matches.
Senegal had a dream start to the match, as Habib Diallo struck in just the fourth minute from a Sadio Mane cross to go up 1-0.
It wasn’t long after that Mane escaped a yellow card with a caution for a rash challenge on midfielder Ibrahim Sangare. Snagare had to be stretchered off for treatment before coming back on.
Ivory Coast slowly began to settle into the match after Senegal’s quick start, taking a big lead in possession in the first half. Both Seko Fofana and Oumar Diakite were able to make good penetration into Senegal’s side, coming close to equalizing multiple times.
It wasn’t until the 86th minute however that Ivory Coast could get on the scoreboard. Substitute Nicolas Pepe was brought down by goalkeeper Édouard Mendy in the box.
At first, referee Pierre Atcho waved off appeals for a penalty but VAR ended up reversing the decision, awarding a spot-kick to Ivory Coast. Kessie was able to strike one to the left of Mendy, much to the delight of the home fans.
Ivory Coast came close to pulling ahead in extra time but Brighton winger Simon Adringa and Forest’s Serge Aurier both missed the target. Mane also had a chance on the other end, pushing a cross to force an instinctive save from Fofana.
After 30 minutes of extra time the two teams were left to battle it out in a penalty shootout.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Pape Matar Sarr both scored their penalties and Nicolas Pepe and Christian Kouame matched them to start the shootout 2-2.
A miss from Moussa Niakhate handed Ivory Coast the advantage. Sebastien Haller and captain Serge Aurier then scored theirs to keep Ivory Coast ahead.
Although Mane was able to keep the shootout alive, Kessie delivered the final blow to eliminate Senegal 5-4 from penalties.
Cape Verde Eliminate Mauritania 1-0
In other Round of 16 action, Cape Verde beat Mauritania 1-0 to keep their run alive in the competition. It seemed like the two teams were heading towards a draw but Captain Ryan Mendes scored with just two minutes left in regulation.
It was the Mauritania side’s first time appearing in the knockout phase of the tournament. Cape Verde had qualified out of their group in two of their three previous appearances at the AFCON, but had never before won a knockout game.
Cape Verde are scheduled to play their quarter-final on Saturday in Yamoussoukro against either Morocco or South Africa. Morocco will be big favorites to come out of the match and the tournament frontrunners will be a tough test for Cape Verde.
Egypt Eliminated in Penalties By DR Congo
It all came down to Goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi scoring the 18th penalty of the shootout as DR Congo shocked Egypt to knock out seven-time champions.
DR Congo went ahead when Meschack Elia headed in a cross from Yoane Wissa. The lead didn’t last long though, with Egypt striking back via a Mostafa Mohamed penalty just before half time.
Egypt finished with 10 men after left-back Mohamed Hamdy was given a second yellow card seven minutes into extra time for a challenge on Simon Banza.
The shootout was extremely tense as keeper Gabaski finally clipped the top of the crossbar in the ninth round of the shoot-out. Mpasi then stepped up to win the game for DR Congo 8-7 on penalties.
In the absence of injured captain Mohamed Salah seemed to be the difference in the matchup.