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Afcon 2019: Five Things we learnt from the round of 16

Afcon 2019: Five Things we learnt from the round of 16

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt has thrown in some surprises and as we head to the quarterfinal stage, the round of 16 gave us some entertaining football but also something for the record books.

Records were broken while others made them and most of them bizarre in nature. You don’t have to win a match to progress to the quarterfinals.

1. No win but no worries

Morocco 1-1 Benin ( Benin progress 1-4 on penalties)

The Squirrels of Benin qualified to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after overcoming Morocco 1-4 on post match penalties at the Al-Salam Stadium in a Round of 16 tie on Friday evening.

The match ended in dramatic fashion after 90 minutes with the game tied at 1-1, Ajax star player Hakim Ziyech missed a stoppage time penalty to send the game into extra time.

Moise Adilehou opened the scoring on 53 minutes but Youssef En-Nesyri levelled the scores in the 76th minute.

Benin were reduced to ten men when Khaled Adénon received a second yellow card in extra time.

Benin held on to take the match into extra time. Mama Seibou scored the decisive penalty as Squirrels edged out Morocco 1-4 on penalties.

Michel Dussuyer’s men have not won a match at the 2019 Afcon but they have managed to qualify to the quarterfinals to set up a quarterfinal tie with Senegal on Wednesday 10 July at the 30 June Stadium.

2. Taking the bull by the horns

Madagascar 2-2 DR Congo ( Madagascar win 4-2 on penalties)

Africa Cup of Nations debutants Madagascar produced another upset to beat DR Congo 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw and seal a quarter-final spot.

Madagascar got off to a great start with a 9th minute lead through Ibrahim Amada’s superb 20-yard strike.

Cedric Bakambu equalised with a header in the 21st minute as the two teams went into the break tied at 1 all.

The Indian Ocean islanders restored their lead through Faneva Andriatsima’s in the 77th minute and were minutes away from sealing a place in the quarterfinals before Chancel Mbemba’s 90th minute equaliser forced extra-time.

The teams couldn’t be separated in extra time and penalties were needed.

The Barea are making their first appearance at the tournament look like cakewalk as they have shown courage through out. They have not lost a single match so far and they go into the tie against Tunisia on Thursday 11 July 2019 with all the confidence in the world.

No one gave them a chance but here they are taking on the bulls by its horns if you like

3. Home is not always where the heart is

Egypt 0-1 South Africa

The hosts were dealt a major blow after a shocking exit at the hands of South Africa at the Cairo International Stadium.

A brilliantly taken goal by Thembinkosi Lorch gave Bafana Bafana a 1-0 victory over The Pharaohs to set up a mouthwatering clash with Nigeria in the quarter-finals on Wednesday 10 July 2019.

The hosts were favorites to progress into the quarterfinals backed by a capacity crowd of 75,000 packed Cairo International Stadium, but the South African team reminded the Egyptians that home is not always where the heart is.

4. Old habits die hard

Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon

Gernot Rohr’s men produced a stellar performance against rivals Cameroon in a round of 16 tie that will be remembered for years to come. It was final before the final as both teams exhibited their prowess in front of goal as two African Legends Samuel E’too and Nwankwo Kanu looked on with anticipation. It was a seesaw affair, Nigeria took the lead through Odion Ighalo just after 19 minutes. Stephane Bahoken equalised in the 41st minute before Clinton N’Jie added another within a space of three minutes.

But the drama was not done yet. Ighalo completed his brace in the 63rd minute before he played in Iwobi for what would turn out to be a winner by Arsenal forward.

Nigeria held on to record another famous win over Cameroon and progress to the quarterfinals to meet South Africa in Cairo on Wednesday 10 July, 2019.

5. Being Valiant is not enough sometimes

Uganda 0-1 Senegal

Senegal the number one ranked team on the continent scrapped through with a 1-0 win over the Cranes of Uganda thanks to Sadio Mane’s strike on 15 minutes.

Uganda fought hard to get back in the game and gave Senegal a lot of scares in the game.

Uganda conceded a penalty in the 58th minute, Dennis Onyango fouling Mane in the box. The Liverpool stepped up but its was the Sundowns man Onyango who won by saving the penalty.

A valiant effort from the Cranes of Uganda and Sebastian Desabre buy it wasn’t enough as they bowed out of Afcon 2019.

It was business as usual for others, Ivory Coast beat Mali 1-0 thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s 76th minute effort.

Tunisia defeated Ghana 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Tunisia did not win a single match in the Group Stages. Algeria dispatched Guinea with a 3-0 beating to continue their tremendous unbeaten record at the Afcon 2019.

QUARTERFINAL FIXTURES
1. Senegal vs Benin (Wednesday 10 July, 2019) 18:00 CAT/19:00 EAT @30 JUNE STADIUM

2. Nigeria vs South Africa (Wednesday 10 July, 2019) 21:00 CAT/22:00 EAT @CAIRO INTERNATIONAL STADIUM

3. Côte d’Ivoire vs Algeria (Thursday 11 July, 2019) 18:00 CAT/19:00 EAT @NEW SUEZ STADIUM

4. Madagascar vs Tunisia (Thursday 11 July, 2019) 21:00 CAT/22:00 EAT @AL-SALAM STADIUM

An African football Journalist based in the town of Kabwe, Zambia.

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