Breaking: Ivory Coast defeat defending champion Senegal 5-4 on penalties

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Ivory Coast , the host of AFCON defeated defending champion of the tournament Senegal 5-4 on penalties. Ivory Coast will now face Cape Verde in the quarter finals .

Franck Kessie scored the winning penalty as hosts Ivory Coast knocked out defending champions Senegal.

Ivory Coast were the more dominant side in the first half in terms of ball possession but it was Senegal who took an early lead through Habib Diallo’s brilliant strike in the fourth minute. Ismail Jakob’s throw-in found Sadio Mane on the left flank who kept an inch-perfect cross for Diallo inside the penalty box. The Al-Shabab forward controlled the ball with his chest and found the back of the net with a picture-perfect finish.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made two very important saves in the 73rd and 77th minute to maintain his team’s lead only to give away a penalty a few minutes later as he pounced on Nicolas Pepe. After a lengthy VAR check, the spot-kick was awarded to The Elephants and Franck Kessie scored the equaliser from the penalty spot.

The goal forced extra-time but neither team could add to their tally, meaning penalties were needed. The Elephants eventually emerged triumphant as they made it to the AFCON quarter-finals by winning 5-4 in the shootout.

Credit goes to the entire Ivory Coast side, who despite all the turmoil, made it to the quarter-final. The sudden sacking of their manager Jean-Louis Gasset after their 4-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea in the group stage came as a huge shock for the entire squad but they managed to play as a unit and knocked out the defending champions and tournament favourites.

THE BIG LOSER
Senegal skipper Sadio Mane has to take the blame for his team’s exit from the competition. Even though the star player did provide the assist for Diallo’s early goal, he could have got his name on the scoresheet. Mane had the chance to double his team’s lead in the 77th minute but failed to keep his shot on target from close range.

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