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AFCON 2023 last-16 preview: Blockbuster clash between Senegal & Ivory Coast, Nigeria take on Cameroon & more

AFCON 2023 last-16 preview: Blockbuster clash between Senegal - Ivory Coast, Nigeria take on Cameroon & more

The group phase of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has concluded, and we’re now heading into the business end of what has been a thrilling tournament.

The group stage delivered plenty of drama, with continental heavy-hitters Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia already sent packing, while Egypt and Ivory Coast barely made it through.

As we bid farewell to the group phase drama, the focus now shifts to the knockout stage, where the final 16 teams will battle for a coveted spot in the quarter-finals. 

The quest to be crowned kings of the continent will hit a fever pitch, and we can expect more thrilling moments in the action-packed 2023 chapter of the AFCON.

Read on as we preview the last-16, which will take place from January 27-30, including two blockbuster fixtures and several other exciting showdowns.

January 27

Angola vs Namibia – 5:00 pm (GMT)

The round of 16 kicks off at Stade de la Paix as Angola face Namibia. The Group D winners will back themselves to advance against a goal-shy Namibia that have scored the fewest goals of any side in the knockout stage.

Nigeria vs Cameroon – 8:00 pm (GMT)

We then head over to Abidjan, where two West African giants collide as three-time winners Nigeria meet five-time champions Cameroon at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

Nigeria have failed to light up the tournament, with just one of their paltry three-goal tally coming from open play. 

However, their rearguard has been near-impenetrable and will be key in the contest against a Cameroonian side that scored five times in the group phase.

January 28

Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea – 5:00 pm (GMT)

Equatorial Guinea have been the feel-good story of the tournament and could extend their AFCON fairytale with a win over Guinea. 

They will rely heavily on their captain and talisman Emiliano Nsue, whose five-goal tally has positioned him as the tournament’s top goalscorer.

Egypt vs DR Congo – 8:00 pm (GMT)

It has been a challenging AFCON so far for Egypt, especially after losing Mohamed Salah to a hamstring injury during the second group-stage game.

The Liverpool talisman has returned to Anfield for treatment, and it is increasingly likely that the Pharaohs will have to forge ahead without him.

Egypt failed to win any of their three group games (D3), qualifying in second place. But with or without Salah, they should have enough to edge DR Congo, who boast an identical group phase record.

January 29

Cape Verde vs Mauritania – 5:00 pm (GMT)

Cape Verde raised plenty of eyebrows when they emerged as winners of Group B ahead of Egypt and Ghana. They were also unbeaten and scored seven times.

However, their heartwarming story could attract even more audience if they edge past a Mauritania side that finished third in Group D.

Senegal vs Ivory Coast – 8:00 pm (GMT)

AFCON holders Senegal take on host nation Ivory Coast in what is undeniably the box office showdown of the last-16. 

Senegal topped Group C with a perfect record and conceded just once, so you’d have to assume they’re one of the favourites to win the competition. 

Ivory Coast barely got through to the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed teams and will need to massively improve if they are to go any further in the competition. 

January 30

Mali vs Burkina Faso – 5:00 pm (GMT)

Mali and Burkina Faso will engage in a fierce, evenly contested battle for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Mali are one of the unbeaten teams in the competition, giving them a slight edge over the Stallions, who finished second in Group D.

Morocco vs South Africa – 8:00 pm (GMT)

Morocco booked their place in the knockout stage by topping Group F with seven points. They scored five times and conceded just once.

The 2022 World Cup semi-finalists remain on course to snap their AFCON hoodoo, as per our prediction.

But they may have to get past South Africa without their suspended manager, Walid Regragui, on the touchline.

How to watch?

All AFCON games are broadcast live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. Numerous other live football streaming websites will allow you to watch the tournament in real time regardless of your location.

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