Incredible recovery. On Monday, on a hot night in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast knocked out Senegal in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations (1-1, 5 tapes to 4). Habib Diallo scored against the Elephants, who responded from the penalty spot five minutes from the end of regulation time. Moussa Nyakade missed his effort in the penalty shootout, while Frank Kessey, the author of the equaliser, delivered for his country. Ivory Coast will face either Mali or Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.
They don't even need Herve Renard to perform a miracle. Promoted as coach after Jean-Louis Gasset resigned, Emerse Faé's players earned the right to dethrone the title holder and continue their competitive adventure. Having appeared so erratic and so feverish in group stage, they have found energy and heart again, on the brink of a precipice and a terrible explosion.
A fantastic goal by Diallo
Ivory Coast have come a long way to qualify, stifling suspense and a penalty shootout. Habib Diallo's spectacular goal left her as cold as the crowd. The former Strasbourg striker received a cross from Sadio Mane, which he improved with a classy sequence: Morfin's directional control and a heavy strike into the top corner from the unfortunate Yahya Fofana (0-1, 4th).
Serge Aurier's defensive apathy – on the crosser – and Jean-Michel Chery – on the striker – were heavily punished, but that didn't dampen the interest of the Ivorian fans. If in the first period they did not worry about Edouard Mendy, apart from Sego Fobana (40th), the elephants invested the longest phases in the Senegalese camp. The problem: The Lions' defensive substitution of Teranga, organized in a 3-4-3, often frustrated them.
Infallible Ivorian in front of goal
The Ivorians played with handbreaks against Senegal in the second half: Kessey's header (73rd) and Nicolas Pepe's (77th) flat-footed interception by Edouard Mendy. Imperial, the latter was guilty of a foul on Pépé in the 84th and the penalty converted by Kessie using the video aid – made the Charles-Conan-Pani stadium roar with joy (1- 1, 86e). Note that Senegal could have benefited from a penalty when Ismaila Sir fell in contact with Odilon Kossounou (55th)…
The canes were too heavy to see play in overtime. Mane, who tackled Ibrahim Sangare so badly early in the match (should have?) earned him not a yellow card, but a sending off, that he had the only clear chance, Yahya Fobana won his fight. Dot blank (105th+1).
Humiliated by Equatorial Guinea last week (0-4), Ivory Coast was too much for its people to forgive. Fofana's perfect post contributed by parrying Niagat's effort. Although all seemed lost for the Elephants, here they are in the quarter-finals of CAN, still in the race for a third continental victory. An incredible recovery.
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