Senegal and Nigeria both faced surprise quarterfinalists in Benin and South Africa, and both found out their opponents were no slouch, requiring slim one-goal victories to reach the semifinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Up first in thee day, Senegal topped Benin 1-0 on a 69th minute strike by Idrissa Gueye who burst straight down the heart of the Benin defense and took a feed from Sadio Mane before slotting home the winner. For much of the game, Benin’s defensive shape locked Senegal down, as the favorites held 63% possession but could only manage four shots on target to Benin’s three.
Mane was the most incisive Senegal attacker, and he saw two goals wiped off the board by VAR checks for offside. It looked that Benin actually may take a shock lead early in the second half as Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis nearly put one clumsily into his own net, but the potential own-goal skittered wide and Gueye struck soon after. Benin defender Olivier Verdon, who just joined La Liga side Alaves this summer, was sent off late for a foul on Gueye to essentially seal the match.
Nigeria was also under threat of upset as they took on South Africa, but a late winner from Udinese defender William Troost-Ekong gave them a 2-1 victory and a spot in the semifinals. The 89th minute decider was bundled home by the 25-year-old after South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams whiffed looking to punch a corner.
That proved vital as previously, Samuel Chukwueze’s first-half goal off his blocked first attempt cancelled out a 71st minute effort from Bongani Zungu. The South Africa equalizer survived a contentious VAR check that appeared to confirm a blatant offside, but the assist came off the back of Odion Ighalo so the goal stood.
With both winners into the semifinals, Senegal will draw the winner of Madagascar and Tunisia, while Ivory Coast and Algeria battle for a chance to meet Nigeria in the semis. Both those remaining quarterfinals take place tomorrow, with the semifinals set for July 14 in Cairo.
The first two quarterfinals take place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, as Senegal and Nigeria are heavily favored to win and reach the final four.
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Sadio Mane’s Senegal face Benin, who shocked Morocco in the Round of 16, while Nigeria take on South Africa who similarly shocked the world as they dumped hosts Egypt out of the competition. Mane has scored three goals so far and along with Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo, Algeria’s Adam Ounas and DR Congo’s Cedric Bakambu they lead the tournament in goals.
If Senegal prevail they will face the winner of Madagascar and Tunisia in Cairo on Sunday, while if Nigeria take care of business they will play either the Ivory Coast or Algeria in a stacked side of the bracket.
Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Wednesday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Wednesday, July 10
Senegal v. Benin – 12 p.m. ET
Nigeria v. South Africa – 3 p.m. ET
CAIRO (AP) Benin started the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages with a major upset, beating Morocco in a penalty shootout on Friday to reach the quarterfinals.
It was the first match Benin had ever won at the African Cup.
Sofiane Boufal and Youssef En-Nesyri missed their spot kicks for Morocco, and Seibou Mama buried the decisive penalty as Benin won the shootout 4-1.
The match finished 1-1 after extra time.
Moise Adilehou gave Benin the lead in the 53rd minute when he stuck out a foot to volley home from a corner.
En-Nesyri equalized for Morocco in the 76th, and the Moroccans should have won it when they won a penalty deep in injury time at the end of the 90.
Hakim Ziyach smacked the penalty off the post and Benin survived to advance from its first-ever knockout game at the tournament.
The knockout rounds of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations begins in Egypt on Friday, as two favorites to win it all hope to avoid upsets.
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Morocco clash with Benin at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium after winning Group F with three wins from three, while Benin drew all three of their group games as they held powerhouses Cameroon and Ghana. The Atlas Lions should not take Benin for granted and their secret weapon is former Sunderland and West Brom attacker Stephane Sessegnon.
As for Senegal, they are led by Liverpool star Sadio Mane but they had a rather disappointing group stage effort as they lost to Algeria and finished second in Group C. That has set up a clash with Uganda who finished second in Group A behind Egypt, but alongside Mane Senegal have a heavyweight PL midfield with Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrisse Gueye in the engine room and they are the heavy favorites to advance where they’ll likely meet Morocco in an epic quarterfinal clash.
Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Friday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Friday, July 5
Round of 16
Morocco v. Benin – 12 p.m. ET
Uganda v. Senegal – 3 p.m. ET
Groups E and F reach their finale on Tuesday, as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations knockout round bracket will be set after these four games.
And all eight teams in action can still make the Round of 16.
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In Group E a point will likely be enough for group leaders Mali, who have already reached the knockout round, to finish top, while Tunisia must beat Mauritania to have a chance of topping the group and have an easier path in the knockout rounds. If Mali do finish top of the group they will play against the Ivory Coast in the Round of 16.
Group F is somewhat complicated, but Cameroon have definitely advanced and a win against Benin will seal top spot for the reigning champs. Any of Benin, Guinea-Bissau or Ghana can still reach the last 16, with the latter potentially playing Nigeria in the last 16 if they do finish second in Group F.
Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Tuesday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Tuesday, July 2
Benin v. Cameroon – 12 p.m. ET
Guinea-Bissau v. Ghana – 12 p.m. ET
Angola v. Mali – 3 p.m. ET
Mauritania v. Tunisia – 3 p.m. ET