Cote d'Ivoire stun holders Senegal in shootout to reach quarter-finals

Feb 7, 2024 - 00:03
Feb 7, 2024 - 00:03
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Cote d'Ivoire stun holders Senegal in shootout to reach quarter-finals

Hosts Cote d'Ivoire pulled off a monumental upset by defeating defending champions Senegal 5-4 on penalties after extra time to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

In front of a raucous home crowd at the Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, Senegal made a blistering start and took the lead just four minutes in.

A superb cross from Sadio Mane found Habib Diallo, who calmly chested the ball down before firing a rocket into the top corner.

Stunned by conceding so early, the hosts gradually grew into the game with neat interplay in midfield between Franck Kessie and Jean Michael Seri.

Ibrahim Sangare posed a constant threat on the wing while strikers Sebastien Haller and Nicolas Pepe stretched Senegal's defence.

The Elephants had the better of the first half but despite several near misses, a Senegalese wall of Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo repelled everything thrown at them. 0-1 at halftime.

Senegal almost doubled their lead early in the second half when a speculative Ismaila Sarr effort forced a fingertip save. But Cote d'Ivoire were unfazed and continued pressing.

Pepe burst into the box and was clumsily brought down by Edouard Mendy.
The game turned on a pivotal eighty-six minutes moment

After VAR reviewed the incident, Franck Kessie coolly sent Mendy the wrong way from the spot to equalize and send the home crowd into ecstasy.

In extra time, chances came and went for both sides but the scores remained level. In the shootout, each side netted their first four penalties. But when Kalifa Coulibaly's effort came off the upright, Kessie stepped up to smash home the winning kick, capping a remarkable turnaround for the hosts.

After a disastrous group stage, Cote d'Ivoire showed tremendous resilience and spirit to dethrone Senegal, who will have to relinquish their title. The Elephants march on, redemption complete.

Few gave the Elephants hope coming into this last sixteen clash against star-studded Senegal.

But led by captain Serge Aurier, the spirited hosts fought until the end and rode their luck at times against profligate opponents.

This result blows the tournament wide open. The defending champions are out, and the unfancied hosts march on in dramatic style.

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Edwin T. Battaforyen Edwin T. Battaforyen is a Professional Young Liberian Journalist with over two years of working experience in the mainstream as a Broadcast and Sports Journalist. Young Battaforyen holds an advanced Diploma in Journalism from the Professional Journalism School of Liberia and Currently studies Mass Communication and Social Work at the State-run University of Liberia. In 2023 Edwin T. Battaforyen was named as the Best Sports Reporter of the Year an award given by the Sports Writer Association of Liberia (Margibi County Chapter). Battaforyen has traveled to Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Ghana as a Sports Reporter assigned to provide coverage for the Liberia National Handball Team. Edwin T. Battaforyen is a full member of the Sports Writer Association of Liberia and Currently Works at KOOL 91.9 FM/TV/knewsonline.