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AFCON Review:  Ivory Coast Stun Champions Senegal to Book Quarter-Final Spot


Ivory Coast defied the odds in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16, stunning everyone by edging out tournament favourites Senegal in an intense penalty shootout.


The round of 16 also witnessed the surprising elimination of seven-time champions Egypt, while the Elephants miraculously survived the group stage, qualifying as the best losers. Ivory Coast, who finished third in their group stage, emerged triumphant against tournament favourites Senegal — the only team to sail through to the round of 16 undefeated — in a crunch fixture.

Let’s dissect the standout moments and statistics from the recent clashes, as these teams now set their sights on the quarterfinals.

Read: Golden Boot: Top Scorers Lighting Up the Africa Cup of Nations 2023

Senegal vs Ivory Coast: A Tactical Tussle

Result: Senegal 1 (4) – 1 (5) Ivory Coast

Senegal Stats Ivory Coast
1 (4) Result 1 (5)
13 Shots 8
4 Shots on Target 4
43% Posession 57%
434 Passes 579
78% Pass Accuracy 83%
25 Fouls 26
4 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
2 Offsides 3
6 Corners 2

Ivory Coast checkmated Senegal in a penalty shootout, emerging victorious with a 5-4 scoreline after the game ended 1-1 in regular and extra time.

Senegal fired off 13 shots, attempting to assert dominance, but Ivory Coast, with only seven shots, showcased clinical efficiency. Possession tilted in favour of the underdogs, with Ivory Coast commanding 57% against Senegal’s 43%.

Ivory Coast executed precision passing with an 83% accuracy, completing 579 passes compared to Senegal’s 434. Every pass mattered in Ivory Coast’s playbook, dictating the tempo of the game.

The battle was fought hard but fair, with 51 fouls committed. Senegal received three yellow cards, while Ivory Coast earned four.

Ivory Coast orchestrated set-piece symphonies, earning six corners to Senegal’s two. Ivory Coast’s prowess in creating scoring opportunities as dead-ball specialists emerged as one of their unique attributes to be weary of.

Egypt vs DR Congo: Someone Had to Go Home

Egypt Stats Congo
1 Result 1
10 Shots 12
3 Shots on Target 1
58% Posession 42%
533 Passes 378
82% Pass Accuracy 78%
19 Fouls 22
2 Yellow Cards 3
1 Red Cards 0
2 Offsides 0
2 Corners 4

DR Congo vs Egypt, dubbed as the dullest of the round-of-16 clashes, brought its share of drama. DR Congo secured a spot in the quarterfinals after a 1-1 draw, ultimately settled in an intense penalty shootout. Egypt’s unexpected exit adds an extra layer of unpredictability to the tournament.

Egypt took the initiative with 10 shots, trying to break through Congo’s defence, but Congo responded with 12 shots of their own. Despite Egypt’s attempts, Congo managed to maintain a slightly higher possession at 42%, leaving Egypt with 58%.

Read: AFCON 2023: Who’s Through to the last 16? Who’s been Eliminated? Best Losers, Fixtures, Dates

Precision in passing became the strategic undercurrent of this match. Egypt showcased an impressive 82% accuracy, completing 533 passes, while Congo, with 78% accuracy, completed 378 passes.

The battle was not just about scoring; it was about control. Fouls were committed in the pursuit of dominance, with Egypt accumulating 19 and Congo, 22. Egypt received two yellow cards in the discipline arena, and Congo received three. No red cards were brandished, ensuring the contest remained balanced. Offside traps played a minimal role, with Egypt caught offside twice, while Congo stayed onside throughout.

Nigeria’s Dominance Continues

In a rematch at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, Nigeria’s Super Eagles once again proved their superiority over five-time champions Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions. The 2-0 victory, courtesy of Ademola Lookman’s goals, solidified Nigeria’s standing in AFCON history.

Angola’s Resilience Shines

Facing adversity early on with their goalkeeper sent off, Angola’s Palancas Negras showcased remarkable resilience, securing a commanding 3-0 win against Namibia. Soares Goncalves’ team defended stoutly and capitalized on opportunities, setting the stage for a compelling clash in the quarterfinals.

Drama in Sunday’s Matches

Equatorial Guinea and Guinea provided a nail-biting encounter, with the surprise package Equatorial Guinea succumbing to a 0-1 defeat. Despite a tense second half featuring a red card and a missed penalty, Guinea’s Mohamed Bayo emerged as the hero with a late winner.

DR Congo vs. Egypt match, though labelled as the dullest of the first four round-of-16 clashes, brought its share of drama. The Leopards employed a counterattacking strategy, leading to a 1-1 draw, ultimately settling in an intense penalty shootout. Egypt’s shocking exit highlighted the unpredictable nature of knockout football.

As the AFCON quarterfinals approach, the focus shifts to Ivory Coast’s upset victory and the impressive performances of Nigeria, Angola, Guinea, and DR Congo. These teams have earned their spots in the next stage, and football enthusiasts eagerly await the upcoming battles that will determine who advances further in the pursuit of continental glory.


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