AFCON: Defending Champions Ousted by Resurgent Elephants

Cote d'Ivoire Advances to AFCON Quarterfinals After Penalty Drama Against Senegal

Cote d’Ivoire secured a thrilling victory against defending champions Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations, clinching a spot in the quarterfinals after a tense penalty shootout. The match, which ended 1-1, showcased the remarkable turnaround of the Ivorian team within just seven days.

Last week, Cote d’Ivoire suffered a crushing 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, leaving their tournament hopes hanging by a thread. However, they managed to progress to the round of 16 thanks to Morocco’s 1-0 win over Zambia.

The Elephants faced additional challenges when they lost their French coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, and had to appoint Emerse Fae as his replacement due to complications with securing former manager Herve Renard on loan from the France Football Federation.

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Under Fae’s guidance, experienced players like Jean-Michael Seri and Max Gradel were brought back into the starting lineup. Despite falling behind early to a goal from Senegal’s Habib Diallo, Cote d’Ivoire displayed resilience and began to assert themselves on the pitch.

An incident involving Senegal’s Sadio Mane’s high challenge on Ibrahim Sangaré sparked a surge in momentum for the Ivorian team. Although there was no VAR review, Cote d’Ivoire intensified their efforts and eventually found the equalizer in the 85th minute when Edouard Mendy fouled Nicolas Pepe in the box.

A VAR review led to a penalty, expertly converted by substitute Franck Kessie, reigniting Cote d’Ivoire’s hopes of progressing in the tournament. Despite extra time failing to produce a winner, Cote d’Ivoire emerged victorious in the penalty shootout, with only Senegal’s Moussa Niakhaté missing his spot-kick.

Catch, Cape Verde secured their second-ever quarterfinal appearance in the AFCON by defeating Mauritania 1-0, courtesy of a late penalty from Ryan Mendes. They now await the winner of the match between Morocco and South Africa for their next challenge.

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