AFCON: Cote d’Ivoire Stages Comeback, Knocks Out Defending Champions Senegal on Penalties

Cote d'Ivoire's Elephants celebrating their win against Senegal

Cote d’Ivoire has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after defeating defending champions Senegal 5-4 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw in regular time.

In a remarkable turnaround, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire showcased resilience on January 29, exactly seven days after suffering a 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea. Their journey in the tournament saw them secure a spot in the round of 16 after Morocco beat Zambia 1-0.

Facing challenges, including the departure of their French coach Jean-Louis Gasset, the appointment of Emerse Fae, and strategic player changes, Cote d’Ivoire found themselves trailing as Senegal took the lead within four minutes. However, the Elephants rallied and displayed determination.

Sébastien Haller’s entrance in the 72nd minute provided a boost, and Cote d’Ivoire managed to equalize in the 85th minute. Edouard Mendy’s challenge on substitute Nicolas Pepe led to a VAR review, resulting in a penalty that Franck Kessie converted, reigniting the hosts’ hopes.

Despite extra time, the deadlock persisted, leading to a penalty shootout. Cote d’Ivoire emerged victorious, with Senegalese defender Moussa Niakhaté being the only player to miss among the 10 penalty takers.

Cote d’Ivoire will now face the winner of the match between Mali and Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake.

In the day’s earlier fixture, Cape Verde secured their second-ever quarterfinal appearance by defeating Mauritania 1-0, courtesy of an 88th-minute penalty from Ryan Mendes. They are set to face the winner of the clash between Morocco and South Africa in the next round.

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