THE ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON continues to unfold drama as both finalists, Egypt and Senegal of the last edition, were eliminated in the round of 16 knock-out stage matches played on Monday, January 29, 2024.
The last edition was won by Senegal in 2021.
Participating again in the ongoing continental football showpiece, both teams’ road to the knock-out stage saw Egypt finish with three points after drawing their three matches to qualify to the next round, while Senegal convincingly won all their three matches to get the ticket to the next round.
Despite the performance, they both suffered defeats, halting individual teams’ quests to eye the title.
Egypt lost to Congo DR
Egypt began their knock out stage match against Democratic Republic of Congo DR at the Stade Laurent Pokou which ended 1-1 after the regulation time, leading to 30 minutes extra time.
After the end of the extra time, the match went straight into penalty shout out which ended 8-7 after Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal kick hit the crossbar.
Congo DR victory dashed Egypt’s star Mohammed Salah’s hope of returning to the team from Liverpool where he went for medical attention of his injury.
Defending Champion, Senegal ousted by host nation- Cote D’ Ivoire
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON host country Cote D’ Ivoire dusted off their lacklustre performance at the group stage to battled toe-to- toe against Senegal.
They emerged as one of the best loser countries to the round of 16 on ousted the defending champion Senegal, 5-4 via penalties shootout.
The host, who heaved a sigh of relief after Morocco’s 1-0 win over Zambia to salvage them from the brink of eviction, qualifying as the best loser to the round, expressed high determination into the match against Senegal.
Despite their high determination, Senegal took the lead in the fourth minute after Habib Diallo, assisted by Sadio Mane, latched the ball into the roof of the net.
The early victory ignited the momentum of the match as the host nation increased the tempo in an attempt to level the scoreline.
All their attempt proved abortive as the first half ended 1-0 in favour of Senegal.
The second half saw the host nation scrambling for an equalizer, which paid off as they were awarded a penalty.
Substitute Franck Kessié stepped in to score the penalty, which erupted wild jubilation at the Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro stadium.
The match ended 1-1 after regulation, leading to 30 minutes of extra time.
The winner of the match was decided by a penalty shootout which was 5-4 in favour of Cote D’Ivoire.