Africa Cup of Nations hosts Ivory Coast overcame their very own poor type and lack of a head coach to upset reigning champions Senegal and progress into the quarter-finals on penalties.
The consequence was all of the extra unbelievable given Senegal had emerged from their group section with an ideal document, the one one within the match, whereas Ivory Coast solely snuck by way of because the lowest-ranked qualifier of the third-placed groups, with no aim of their earlier two fixtures.
And if initially the shape information appeared to be offering a reasonably routine consequence, it was Ivory Coast’s persistance and talent from the spot – notably from subsitute Franck Kessie – which in the end had the defining impression.
Just 5 minutes in, the breakthrough got here: Sadio Mane nearly retaining the ball in play down the left and pinging over a cross to search out Habib Diallo close to the penalty spot. The Al-Shabab striker chested the ball down and spun to instantly energy residence a drive, excessive into the roof of the web, giving Senegal an early lead.
Despite clear early superiority, the Lions of Teranga sat again on their lead and barely threatened the Elephants’ aim thereafter, Mane scooping one shot over the bar within the second half after Ismaila Sarr had seen a shot parried away – however that was about it. By distinction, Ivory Coast began slowly and needed to patiently work their manner into the sport, constructing connections and confidence as they went, and had been deserved victors by the point the ultimate whistle of the evening blew.
With Emerse Fae within the dugout as caretaker boss following the mid-tournament sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset, Ivory Coast turned to a succession of attack-minded substitutes to progressively crank up the stress within the second half.
Christian Kouame, Franck Kessie, Sebastian Haller and Nicolas Pepe had been all summoned and every performed a component within the eventual equaliser with simply 5 minutes remaining; Pepe it was who was finally clattered into by former Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, a penalty given following a VAR intervention, with the on-pitch referee inexplicably ruling it not a foul initially.
Kessie stepped as much as coolly convert and ship the tie to further time, and whereas possibilities had been few and much between within the added half-hour, it was Ivory Coast who undoubtedly had the higher of the ultimate hour or so of the match total, had extra attacking intent and positively had the higher combos about their sport.
In the shootout, 9 of the ten penalties had been expertly dispatched – however Moussa Niakhate’s shot onto the surface of the publish and huge allowed Kessie to as soon as extra step up and plant his personal, ultimate strike excessive into the web.
As the stadium exploded in delight and chance as soon as extra, Ivory Coast by way of to face both Mali or Burkina Faso, Senegal are as an alternative left to rue what may need been as they exit early within the defence of their title.