The roster of teams for the quarter-final stage at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON is now complete.
The Eagles of Mali despite being huge favourites failed to claim the last quarter-final slot as they were defeated by hard-fighting Equatorial Guinea 5-6 on penalties.
Just like the day’s earlier game between Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt, Mali and Equatorial Guinea were inseparable after 120 minutes of football action inside the Limbe Omnisport Stadium, Limbe.
It required penalty kicks before Equatorial Guinea finally prevailed and secured passage into the last eight.
Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue took the first kick of the night and lost while Adama Noss Traoré netted for Mali. Unfortunately, Hamari Traore blew away Mali’s advantage when he fluffed his side’s third kick.
Tied at 4-4 after the first five kicks, it went to sudden death where Falaye Sacko missed his kick which handed the ticket to Equatorial Guinea
To make it to the Round of 16 in the first place, Mali made an excellent start to the competition; winning their first two games and then a draw in their third game to earn the top spot in their group.
It was tougher for Nzalang Nacional who came into their group as underdogs but managed to qualify from a tough pool that included Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria. Stopping the unbeaten record of holders Algeria with a famous 1-0 win guided them all the way through to the knockout stage.
Now their giant-killing prowess has continued as they have stopped Mali
Apart from Egypt and Equatorial Guinea that confirmed their places in the quarter-final stage on Wednesday, the other teams in the last eight include, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and the Gambia.
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