The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations — in 2022. Please, pandemic, stop with the madness –now has six of its eight quarterfinalists as Senegal and Morocco held off challenges from perceived minnows on Tuesday in Cameroon.
Senegal got a goal from Sadio Mane but also a concerning head injury for the Liverpool star, while Morocco’s 2-1 win included some simply sensational goals and a scare from underdogs Malawi.
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AFCON has delivered plenty of goals and red cards — two more for Cape Verde alone on Tuesday — and will finish up an interesting Round of 16 when Mohamed Salah and Egypt duke it out with Nicolas Pepe and Ivory Coast.
Sadio Mane scores beauty after head injury
Liverpool star Sadio Mane probably shouldn’t have even been on the pitch following a nasty head injury that kept the Senegalese star from getting off the turf for some time on Tuesday, but was allowed to play on and produced a beauty of a goal.
Both of Senegal’s goals in the 2-0 win came after Cape Verde went down to nine men, 10 following a 21st minute red card to Patrick Andrade and nine in the 57th minute when Vozinha was sent off. Both calls were made following VAR review.
Mane’s shot in the 63rd minute was stunning stuff, but he was removed from the pitch moments later as the repercussions of a nasty head injury stayed with the Reds winger (see video of both incidents here).
Jurgen Klopp probably won’t even appreciate the goal, as the officials risked the long-term health of Mane by allowing him to keep playing after the scary incident outside the 18.
Senegal’s second goal came from the man who replaced Mane, Ahmadou Bamba Dieng, and the Lions of Teranga will next meet the winner of Wednesday’s Round of 16 match between Mali and Equatorial Guinea.
Gabadinho’s golazo overcome by mighty Morocco
Minnows Malawi stunned Morocco in more ways than one but ultimately couldn’t get past the Eagles of Carthage to reach the AFCON quarterfinals.
Gabadinho Mhango’s incredibly early goal was one of just four shots registered by Malawi, as Morocco poured on pressure and scored some terrific goals of their own to win 2-1.
Youssef En-Nesyri leveled the score in first half stoppage and Achraf Hakimi’s outrageous long-distance shot gave Morocco the lead for good in the 70th minute, as the favorites outshot Malawi 24-4 and forced eight saves out of Charles Thom.
Morocco will play the winner of Wednesday’s high-powered duel between Ivory Coast and Egypt.
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