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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

AFCON Host Cote D’Ivore Triumph Over Current Champions Senegal, Head to Quarterfinals

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ABIDJAN, Cote D’Ivore – Cote D’Ivore spectacularly claimed victory in the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, edging out Senegal in a nerve-wracking 5-4 penalty shootout.

This remarkable win, following the group stage, propels the host nation into the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament organised by the Confederation of African Football.

The pivotal moment came when Franck Kessie coolly converted his penalty after Mousaa Niakhate’s miss, dashing the hopes of the Terenga Lions and securing the Elephants a spot in the Group of 16.

Cote D’Ivore’s entry into the knockout stage was initially made possible by Morocco’s critical 1-0 victory over Zambia in Group F on Wednesday, placing them as the fourth-best third-place team.

The match on Monday, January 29, 2024, saw Senegal, the defending champion, seize an early lead. Just 10 minutes into the game, Habib Diallo unleashed a powerful left-footed shot from a Sagio Mane cross, putting Senegal ahead and sparking celebrations among their ranks.

However, the dynamics of the game shifted dramatically in the 86th minute. A penalty, resulting from a foul by Senegalese goalkeeper Mendy on Ivorian striker Pepe, brought Ivory Coast roaring back into contention.

After consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the referee awarded the penalty to the Elephants, a decision that turned the tide against the Terenga Lions.

Kessie’s expertly taken penalty, which sent Mendy the wrong way, leveled the score and extended the match into extra time.

Despite both teams’ vigorous efforts, extra time ended goalless, setting the stage for a gripping penalty shootout.

Ivory Coast’s victory in this shootout has not only invigorated their campaign but also placed them among the elite quartet of Nigeria, Congo Democratic Republic, and Cape Verde in the quarterfinals.

This win marks a significant achievement for the host nation, demonstrating resilience and skill in a high-stakes environment.

The Elephants’ journey in the AFCON continues, fueled by this thrilling triumph and the support of their home crowd.

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