Defending champions Senegal crash out of AFCON

Defending champions Senegal crash out of AFCON

Written by Odunayo

The Teranga Lions of Senegal faced a heartbreaking exit from the African Cup of Nations, losing 5-4 on penalties to Ivory Coast after a 1-1 draw in regulation time and extra time. 

Senegal's early lead, courtesy of Habib Diallo, was equalized by Ivory Coast's Franck Kessie, sending the match into a penalty shootout.

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Despite Senegal's impressive group stage performance, topping Group D with nine points, Ivory Coast, with only three points, managed to advance as one of the best third-placed teams. 

The Ivorians secured their quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion with a shootout victory.

French coach Jean-Louis Gasset's dismissal after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea led to the promotion of assistant coach Emerse Fae. 

The Ivorians made five changes to their lineup, including key players like Serge Aurier and Max-Alain Gradel, while Senegal made three changes.

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Senegal took an early lead with Habib Diallo's goal, showcasing their dominance in the group stage. 

However, Ivory Coast gradually gained control but faced resilient defending from Senegal. The defending champions couldn't increase their lead in the first half.

As the match intensified, Ivory Coast had more possession, but Senegal remained a threat.

The turning point came in the 86th minute when Senegal's goalkeeper fouled Nicolas Pepe, leading to a VAR-reviewed penalty converted by Franck Kessie.

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In extra time, both teams had opportunities, with Senegal's Edouard Mendy making a crucial save from Nicolas Pepe.

The match concluded with a penalty shootout, where Ivory Coast emerged victorious, securing a place in the quarter-finals.

The exit for Senegal marks a disappointing end to their AFCON journey despite a strong start in the group stage.

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