AFCON Update: Ivory Coast leaves it late to send defending champions Senegal packing

AFCON 2023 surprises: Ivory Coast shocks Senegal in thrilling match.

AFCON Update: Ivory Coast leaves it late to send defending champions Senegal packing
Ivory Coast players race to celebrate after beating defending champions Senegal on penalties to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2023 AFCON. (Photo credit: Reuters)


Football is no doubt the most unpredictable sport ever, and a testament to that is the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

When Equatorial Guinea blasted four goals past hosts Ivory Coast, not many expected any magic of qualification for the hosts, but Ghana and Algeria conjured failures, and the hosts found a way to creep in as the last team in the best third pool.

The second-round pairing was believed to have ended the hopes of the Ivorians; no one gave them any chance against Aliou Cisse’s Senegal, with the defending champions picking up maximum points from their three group games.

We have seen loads of surprises in this year’s AFCON, from Equatorial Guinea topping Group A, which had Nigeria and CIV, to Ghana conceding twice in the last minute to Mozambique, to Egypt struggling to qualify, and to Algeria losing out in a group that had Namibia and Angola.

No one, not even many Ivorians, thought Senegal would lose to the hosts. After ninety minutes of football couldn’t separate the two sides following a late penalty by substitute Frank Kessie, the game went into extra time.

Senegal lost the plot after scoring their early goal. The Terenga Lions stopped their usual high-energy game and allowed Ivory Coast to grow into the game. With Nicolas Pepe, Frank Kessie, and Sebastien Haller all coming on late in the game, the former won a penalty, and the game changed complexion.

Penalties can go either way, but the hosts made their luck. Winning on penalties, thereby dumping the hosts out of the tournament, wasn’t in the script, but the 2023 AFCCON has disrespected all bookmakers’ scripts so far.

Cape Verde lies in wait for the hosts after they beat Namibia with a late penalty to book their place in the quarterfinals. This is African football heritage; no one is certain of anything, and every team in the tournament can now believe they can win the trophy.

 

Name

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Footballnus | Stay updated on the latest football news, analysis and betting predictions: AFCON Update: Ivory Coast leaves it late to send defending champions Senegal packing
AFCON Update: Ivory Coast leaves it late to send defending champions Senegal packing
AFCON 2023 surprises: Ivory Coast shocks Senegal in thrilling match.
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