On the one hand, a team with two defeats and led by an interim coach after early dismissal in the middle of the competition. On the other, the current champion and the only team that advanced with 100% success.
As a result, logic did not prevail. Ivory Coast overcame the internal crisis and eliminated Senegal on penalties, after a 1-1 draw, and is in the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations. In the next phase, they will face Burkina Faso or Mali. Sadio Mané and company said goodbye to the chance of a second consecutive championship.
With that, Senegal was the favorite for the title. And he took the lead in the opening minutes of the game, Habib Diallo. But he missed many chances in the second half and gave in to bad luck. In the final stretch of the match, Pépé collided with Mendy inside the area, and the referee awarded a penalty after a VAR review.
Kessié converted, and took the decision to extra time. In extra time, both teams wasted opportunities. On penalties, Niakhaté was the only one to send his shot wide, and the Ivorians advanced.
It is worth remembering that Ivory Coast fired their coach before even knowing that they would play in the knockout stages of the African Cup. Jean-Louis Gasset fell after the defeat suffered by Equatorial Guinea, but the results of the other groups took Ivory Coast forward.
And, this Monday, the team was led by interim Emerse Faé to stay alive in the fight for the title. The Ivorian team has two titles, the last one won in 2015. Since then, the team has not reached a semi-final.