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Cape Verde seal historic quarter-final slot, Ivory Coast knock out Senegal on penalties & more

Cape Verde seal historic quarter-final slot, Ivory Coast knock out Senegal on penalties & more

The penultimate pair of round-of-16 fixtures saw Cape Verde take on Mauritania while reigning champions Senegal locked horns with Ivory Coast.

The first was decided in normal time, while the other needed penalties to determine a winner. Here’s a more detailed recap of all the action.

Cape Verde 1-0 Mauritania

Cape Verde made history by claiming their first-ever victory in the AFCON knockout phase with a slender 1-0 win against West African neighbours Mauritania.

However, it wasn’t a walk in the park as they were made to labour before Ryan Mendes’ 88th-minute penalty winner proved the point of difference.

Fuelled by nothing but their group phase exploits and lofty AFCON ambitions, Cape Verde flew out of the blocks in the opening period of the contest.

The Blue Sharks’ record goalscorer scorer Mendes was in the thick of the action early on after seeing a low shot blocked behind by Mouhsine Bodda before dinking an audacious lob narrowly wide. 

Mauritania slowly grew into the game but their adventurousness nearly proved costly as Mendes was again thwarted by a combination of Ibrahima Keita and Hassan Houbeib.

During the first half, neither goalkeeper from either team faced any significant tests, as both sides failed to register a shot on target. But the dynamics of the game changed after the break.

Mauritania stopper Babacar Niasse was forced into a save shortly after the break when Jovane Cabral unleashed a hopeful effort from a tight angle.

Aboubakary Koita then spurned a guilt-edged opportunity to give Mauritania the lead but couldn’t steady himself before firing wide from point-blank range.

Cape Verde upped the ante, pushing for a potential winner, and Mendes came close with a bullet header from a corner, but Niasse was equal to it, keeping his side in the game.

Despite his heroics, Niasse was undone by a poor defensive header from Yassin Cheik El Welly, leaving him no choice but to foul Gilson Tavares. Mendes stepped up and dispatched the resulting penalty with aplomb.

Mauritania mounted a late assault looking to snatch an equaliser in the ten minutes of added time, but Cape Verde held on to book a quarter-final slot where they’ll face one of Morocco or South Africa.

Senegal 1-1 Ivory Coast (4-5 on penalties)

Hosts Ivory Coast rose from the ashes of their disastrous group stage campaign to knock out reigning champions Senegal following a penalty shoot-out. 

Senegal began the knockout stage looking to build on their perfect group phase record and needed only four minutes to break the deadlock in Yamoussoukro.

Habib Diallo took Sadio Mane’s cross on his chest before smashing a left-footed effort into the roof of the net.

Stand-in Ivory Coast manager Emerse Fae was drafted in mid-tournament following the dismissal of Jean-Louis Gasset after a hugely disappointing group stage.

Fae didn’t have much time to implement his ideas, but his side slowly began to grow into the game and dominated possession for most of the opening period.

However, they barely created any goalscoring opportunities, going into the half-time break on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline.

Senegal kicked off the second half in identical fashion as the first and nearly doubled their advantage as Ismaila Sarr forced Yahia Fofana into a fingertip save around the post. 

Just before the hour mark, Sarr thought he should have had a penalty after tangling with Odilon Kossounou, but neither the VAR nor the on-field referee were convinced he had a case.

Ivory Coast were in desperate need of a goal, and the home crowd were roused by the introduction of Sebastien Haller for the first time in this tournament. 

The Borussia Dortmund striker almost immediately caused a moment of panic in the Senegal defence, leading to a chance for Franck Kessie, who drew a decent save from ex-Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy.

Former Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe came close to levelling matters, attempting to lob Mendy after being put through on goal, but the towering keeper was equal to the task.

Ivory Coast were finally rewarded for all their attacking endeavours in the 86th minute when the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Pepe, allowing Kessie to slot home emphatically, sending the contest to extra time.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium in the additional 30, but Mane came closest to snatching a winner. However, Fofana was on hand to smother a close-range effort from the former Liverpool man on the stroke of the extra time break. 

Senegal dominated possession, but nothing materialised, and the scores were still level after 120 minutes, sending the game to penalty kicks.

Nottingham Forest centre-back Moussa Niakhate hit the post with his spot-kick, sealing Ivory Coast’s progression to the quarter-finals as every other effort hit the target.

Ivory Coast will now face the winner of Tuesday’s tie between Mali and Burkina Faso on Saturday in the quarter-final.

Today’s fixtures

Group E winners Mali will take on Burkina Faso in a game where they’re highly fancied to dominate, having avoided defeat against the Stallions in each of their previous eight meetings (W7, D1).

Morocco will also be looking to advance deeper into the tournament when they take on South Africa in the final round of 16 clash of the 2023 AFCON.

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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