2019 African Cup of Nations is currently underway with hosts and favorites Egypt being knocked out in the Round of 16 with a late goal by Thembinkowski Lorch to book South Africa a place in the quarterfinals.
However, even after dominating the ball in the quarter-final match, South Africa failed to defeat Nigeria with William Troost-Ekong scoring the winning goal in the 89th minute. Even after Nigeria coming from behind against the current champions Cameroon in the round of 16 to win 3-2.
The massive upset for Egypt cost the manager his job even though he attempted to reduce the reliance on Liverpool’s winger Mohamed Salah but Salah’s poor performance reflected in the team’s performance after falling ill before the match. On the positive side, Salah will rejoin his club to prepare for the next season.
After being eliminated at the 2018 World Cup group stages due to a new system of fair play, where if two teams have the same points and goal difference then the amount of yellow cards and red cards is used to differentiate them, Senegal seems to be the favourites to win the 2019 AFCON.
Senegal book a place in the semi-finals after beating Benin with Sadio Mane finding Idrissa Gueye in the 69th minute. However, the Senegalese goal-keeper was saved from the embarrassment of an own goal after he mishandled a back pass which could have been fatal for his team progression.
Nevertheless, Senegal and Nigeria are awaiting their semi-finals opponents with Ivory Coast playing Algeria and the dark horse of the tournament Madagascar facing Tunisia in the other two quarter-finals matches.
As it stands, former Watford player and Nigeria’s striker, Odion Ighalo is joint top scorer with 3 goals and 1 assist with Algerian Adam Ounas but Sadio Mane is level on goals and with a chance to increase his probability of winning the golden shoe.
The finals will take place on the 19th of July with Senegal and Madagascar attempting to win their first African Cup of Nations.
Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash
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