AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
THE 2022 edition of the African Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon has continued with its form as a cup of shocks.
Defending champions Algeria were sensationally knocked out of the tournament by Cote d’Ivoire, who now wears the mantle of favourites, along with Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon, to be crowned new champions. Tunisia, a north African football powerhouse, were also dumped out of the continental showpiece by newbies Gambia.
A star studded Cote d’Ivoire -”The Elephants” – thumped Algeria 3-1 in a fast paced Group E match, which could have easily been the final.
Algeria’s loss meant that they ended the group stages at the bottom of the group, without a win. On the other hand, “The Elephants” have finished the group stage at the top of their group – undefeated.
Captain Franck Kessie opened the Cote d’Ivoire account in the 22nd minute. Kessie’s overall performance earned him the man-of-the-match award.
The tally increased to 2-0 in the 39th minute with a goal from Ibrahim Sangare. Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe scored the final nail in Algeria’s coffin with a sublime goal in the 54th minute.
Algerian striker Sofiane Bendebka scored in the 74th minute but the goal did not trigger a fight back.
In another shock result, debutants Gambia pipped Tunisia 1-0, thanks to a late unstoppable screamer from striker Ablie Jallow. The victory means that Gambia’s “Scorpions” qualify for the last 16 of the Afcon 2022.
Gambian goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye won the man-of-the-match award after he kept Tunisia at bay and capped his performance with a penalty save.
Mali secured their passage to the last 16 after they defeated Mauritania 2-0 to finish at the top of their group. Equitorial Guinea also sprung a 1-0 surprise over Sierra Leone, who are out of the tournament.
Nigeria made score an easy 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau and continue in their quest to win the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations. They, along with Egypt, who defeated Sudan 1-0, remain serious contenders for the “Kings of African Football” crown.