Hosts Côte d’Ivoire on brink of exit after 0-4 loss against Equatorial Guinea

* Cape Verde, Egypt through to next round after drama filled encounter

* Senegal gear up for Group C top finisher decider against Guinea in today

Maravi Express

Hosts Côte d’Ivoire will have to rely on other results to avoid a shock Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 group-stage exit after Equatorial Guinea thrashed the Elephants 4-0 in a huge upset in Abidjan.


Emilio Nsue’s double, Pablo Ganet’s 25-yard free-kick and Yannick Buyla’s late goal gave the National Thunder a famous win that sealed top spot in Group A.

The hosts must sweat on qualification after finishing third in the group. The four best third-placed sides across the six groups progress to the last 16.

Ibrahim Sangare twice had equalisers ruled out for the Ivorians when they were only a goal behind, but the Elephants wasted a host of chances and were made to pay by their clinical opposition.

Some Ivorian players were in tears at the final whistle as they were loudly booed off by an angry partisan crowd at Alassane Ouattara Stadium after one of the biggest surprises in AFCON history.


The Equatorial Guinea contingent, meanwhile, celebrated wildly after registering another seismic victory at the finals and they will face a third-placed side from Group C, D, or E in the last 16 on Sunday.

Their best performance at an AFCON tournament was reaching the semi-finals as hosts in 2015 but they finished above three-time champions Nigeria and the Ivorians, two-time winners, in an unexpected twist.

Côte d’Ivoire will have to wait for the rest of the groups to finish tomorrow to see if their three points and a goal difference of -3 is enough to sneak through to the knockout stages.

Their hopes of progressing were boosted after Group B drew to a close yesterday when Ghana finished their campaign in third place on two points.

Meanwhile, Cape Verde and Egypt secured their places in the Round of 16 last evening after playing out to a drama-filled 2-2 draw at the Stade Felix-Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.

A dramatic equalizer by Bryan Teixeira in the dying minutes of stoppage time levelled what looked to be a hard-fought victory for the Pharaohs.

After initially taking the lead in the 45th minute, the Blue Sharks were in the driving seat of what could have been an historic full haul of points in Group B.

However, the score was levelled five minutes into the second half after Mahmoud Trezeguet showed composure in the box to execute a tidy finish.


With the match set to end with a goal apiece, the in-form Mostafa Mohamed artistically chested down a difficult ball to lob it over the oncoming keeper with a goal that sent the Egyptian supporters into a frenzy.

As the former champions prepared to wrap up the victory, Bryan Teixeira spoilt the celebrations after capitalizing on a defensive error to fire the ball into the back of the net and salvage a point for the Blue Sharks who finish top of Group B, followed by the Egyptians as they both seal a place in the next round.

In post-match interview, Cape Verde coach Bubista said: “We are no longer going to move in disguise — the objective is clear, we are aiming for the last four of this competition.

“We are showing the world that we will have to count Cape Verde in this AFCON as one of the best performing teams. No matter who our opponent is, we are not afraid of anyone, and we will do everything to achieve this goal.”

His counterpart, Rui Vitoria described the game as great, saying: “From the actions on both sides, the spectators got their money’s worth. We have qualified and that is a good thing. Now we will have to concentrate on erasing our shortcomings and work hard in preparation for the next round.”

Playing today are Guinea against defending champions Senegal, who — following their 3-1 win over Cameroon, which was preceded by a 3-0 win over Gambia — are top of the group.

Guinea on the other hand held the Indomitable Lions to a 1-1 opening match before edging Gambia 1-0 to be second on the group ahead of the final clash against the reigning champions.

Ahead of the match,  is what the coaches and captains had to say ahead of the clash, Guinea coach Kaba Diawara said having four points so far is good, but not enough: “We play all the matches to win, and victory over Senegal means that we will go top of the group, and we will not have to travel for the quarter-final match. 

“We will benefit from the return of all injured players and go for all three points. We will face the defending champion, who have 6 points and has scored 6 goals so far. The pressure will not be on us, but on Senegal because they are African champions.”

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On his part, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said: “We prepared for the match seriously and professionally, just as we had prepared for previous matches. The match between Senegal and Guinea is a much-anticipated derby in West Africa.

“There are 3 derbies in our group. Our third match is important, and we are counting on a win in order to stay in the lead. We put the matches between Gambia and Cameroon in the past.

“The match in which we faced Guinea during the Cameroon edition was difficult due to the Corona pandemic, and the year 2022 is not like 2024.”

Senegalese midfielder Nampalys Mendy said: “Matches change, but the determination remains the same. Everyone is focused on the match, even though we qualified for the next round.

“I did not speak to my colleague at Lens teammates. We are friends, but on the field each one defends his country’s team.”—Reporting by BBC & CAFonline