Hosts Ivory Coast Stuns Holders Senegal in Heart-Pounding Thriller

Ivory Coast, Hosts of AFCON, Overcome Group Hurdles, Edge Out Senegal in Thrilling Shootout, Setting Up Quarterfinal Clash against Mali or Burkina Faso

A Thrilling Last-16 Encounter Ends 1-1 in Extra Time, with Kessie’s Penalty Saving the Day for Ivory Coast

In a nail-biting last-16 match, Ivory Coast and Senegal fought to a 1-1 draw even after extra time, with Habib Diallo scoring for Senegal early in the match and Franck Kessie equalizing for Ivory Coast with a penalty just four minutes before the end of regular time in Yamoussoukro.

The shootout was equally tense, with Kessie emerging as the hero, converting the decisive kick after Senegal’s Moussa Niakhate hit the post with their third penalty.

Despite a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea just a week ago, support for the host nation remained strong, with fans queuing from the early hours of the morning to secure tickets in the central city.

In the wake of the record home loss, French coach Jean-Louis Gasset was fired, and after failing to bring back former coach Herve Renard, the Elephants promoted assistant coach Emerse Fae to the top job.

In the west African faceoff, the most and least impressive of the 16 qualifiers from the group stage went head-to-head.

Senegal had a dominant run in the group stage, comfortably defeating the Gambia, Cameroon, and Guinea to top Group D, and were the only group winners to advance with a perfect nine points.

Cote d’Ivoire, on the other hand, struggled, managing only three points and a minus-three goal difference after losing to Nigeria, but still secured a spot in the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Coach Emerse Fae made five changes to the starting lineup that faced Equatorial Guinea, bringing in Serge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou, Jean Michael Seri, Max-Alain Gradel, and Jean-Philippe Krasso.

Senegal also made changes, bringing in Moussa Niakhate, Abdou Diallo, and Lamine Camara, despite their 2-0 win over Guinea in their last group game.

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