Ivory Coast Stun Defending Champions Senegal in Dramatic AFCON Clash

Franck Kessie emerged as the hero for the Ivory Coast as they defeated reigning Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions Senegal 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Round of 16 clash on Monday.

The match, played at Stade Charles Konan Banny, saw Senegal take an early lead through Habib Diallo’s strike in the 4th minute. However, Kessie, who was introduced as a substitute by interim coach Emerse Fae, forced extra time by calmly converting a penalty in the 86th minute to level the scores.

“Kessie’s impact was undeniable, delivering a performance reminiscent of his Serie A title-winning displays for AC Milan last season.”

In the dramatic penalty shootout, Senegal’s Moussa Niakhate missed the opening spot-kick, allowing Kessie to step up and score the decisive penalty to complete a remarkable redemption arc for the Ivory Coast. The victory sets up a quarter-final clash against either Mali or Burkina Faso.

Fae’s tactical substitutions, including bringing on Kessie and Nicolas Pepe, proved crucial in swinging the momentum in the Ivory Coast’s favor.

The result is a significant blow for Senegal, the defending AFCON champions, who will now exit the tournament earlier than expected. Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast’s triumph has ignited hope that they can go deep into the competition under Fae’s guidance.

Key Highlights:

  • Ivory Coast 1-1 Senegal (Ivory Coast win 5-4 on penalties)
  • Habib Diallo (Senegal) opened the scoring in the 4th minute
  • Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast) scored the equalizing penalty in the 86th minute
  • Kessie scored the winning penalty in the shootout
  • Ivory Coast will face either Mali or Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals

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