AFCON wrap: Penalties! Equatorial Guinea wins, Salah leads Egypt

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Goals were at a premium as the final Round of 16 matches of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations see Egypt and Equatorial Guinea triumph in penalties on Wednesday in Cameroon.

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah sealed Egypt’s place with a clinical penalty, and the Pharoahs move on to meet Morocco at 11am ET Sunday.

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Equatorial Guinea’s win is pretty darn surprising, the 114rh ranked team by FIFA outlasting world No. 53 Mali.

Nzalang Nacional (National Thunder) has an even bigger task in Senegal at 2pm ET Sunday.

Mali gets a lot of the ball, none of the goals

Mali had 58 percent possession but could not wear down Equatorial Guinea and the match went to penalties.

The shootout started in Mali’s favor when Emilio Nsue sent his penalty over the goal, but Mali saw Massadio Haidara’s shot saved and Hamari Traore mailed his over the goal.

Pablo Ganet was then saved himself, leaving penalties level at 3-3 following five rounds.

At 5-5, Equatorial Guinea’s Santiago Eneme put the underdogs ahead and Mali’s Falaye Sacko was saved by Jesus Owono.

Mohamed Salah’s decisive penalty advances Egypt

Scoreless over 120 minutes, Egypt got a save from backup goalkeeper Gabaski and a decisive penalty from Liverpool star Mohamed Salah to clinch a place in the quarterfinal round with a 1-0 win over Ivory Coast.

The Pharoahs will meet Morocco after Salah smashed home their fifth successful penalty kick of the shootout.

Gabaski was in the game because Mohamed El-Shenawy was injured in the 88th minute and he made one save in the remaining 32 minutes of play before stopping Eric Bailly’s tepid penalty.

Egypt out-attempted the Ivory Coast 21-13 but Les Elephants put eight shots on target and threatened often through Nicolas Pepe, who had three shots, four key passes, and completed all three of his dribble attempts.