• Analysis

AFCON Round-Up: A second team qualifies for the last-16

Morocco, Comoros
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 Ace Football looks back on the latest action from the Africa Cup of Nations, the teams that have made the knockouts so far, and today’s fixtures.

The last-16 stage of the Africa Cup of Nations will see the 16 teams who progressed from the group stages meet two-legged ties. The victors of each fixture qualify for the quarter-finals, then the semi-finals, and finally the final itself.

Cameroon and Morocco are the two sides that have booked a spot in the knockouts so far.

So, with that out of the way, here is a quick summary of the action that unfolded in Friday’s round of AFCON matches.

Senegal 0-0 Guinea

A top-of-the-table clash in Group B finished all square, as Senegal and Guinea settled for a dull goalless draw.

After a poor start, Senegal had the measure of Guinea in the second half but couldn’t score. Abdou Diallo, Sadio Mane, Bouna Sarr all had chances to break the deadlock. However, Guinea held on in Kouekong to keep top spot in Group B.

Malawi 2-1 Zimbabwe

The Flames came from a goal down to nail a 2-1 comeback win over Zimbabwe for their first win of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

While Ishmael Wadi handed Zimbabwe a 38th-minute lead, the Warriors’ fairytale start didn’t last long. Gabadinho Mhango equalized for Malawi five minutes later, before scoring a second-half winner.

Morocco 2-0 Comoros

The Atlas Lions made easy work of Comoros Islands to become the second team to qualify for the last-16 stage after AFCON hosts Cameroon.

Selim Amallah and Zakaria Aboukhlal scored inside both halves to seal a 2-0 win for Morocco, leaving them two points clear of second-place Gabon at the top of the Group C table.

Gabon 1-1 Ghana

A feisty encounter in Yaounde ended all square as Gabon held Ghana to a 1-1 draw.

Captain Andre Ayew fired the Black Stars in front by scoring a brilliant left-footed effort in the 18th-minute. However, two minutes before normal time ended, Jim Allevinah equalized. The midfielder’s effort salvaged a point for Gabon, who missed captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to a minor heart problem.

Ghana’s Benjamin Tetteh later got sent off in a post-match brawl.

The stalemate leaves Ghana with only one point from two Group C matches, leaving them at risk of failing to qualify for the last-16. Gabon, on the other hand, are in second place on four points. If the Panthers avoid defeat against table-toppers Morocco on Tuesday, they’ll qualify for the knockouts.

What games are on today?

In today’s latest round of AFCON fixtures, there will be two Group D games. Nigeria and Sudan kick-off the action in Garoua at 17:00 (CET). The Super Eagles could seal qualification into the last-16 if they collect all three points.

Elsewhere, Egypt take on Guinea Bissau in the second and final Group D fixture. The Pharaohs must avoid another defeat here, or else risk an early AFCON exit. Mohamed Salah and co ideally need the win, although Guinea-Bissau won’t make it easy.