By: Mohamed Galal
The last 16 teams entered the second round of the AFCON Egypt 2019 with high hopes to qualify into the next round. All teams have performed well, with commitment levels during this year’s tournament not coming into question, with a number of teams able to hold their heads high so far.
First Match, First Surprise
The first day of the last 16 saw a massive surprise when African giants, Morocco, were eliminated. Their opponent, Benin, put together a well-organised side and played the game right. It seems Morocco may have underestimated its opponent. A goal from a corner started the scoring for Benin after a fatal defensive mistake cost them the lead. Benin finished the game with 10 men on the pitch by still, a well-deserved victory on penalties takes them to the next round.
Senegal to the next round as expected
After Morocco, Benin will face another African giant, Senegal. Allo Cisse’s boys played a solid match against Uganda, an ambitious team with an impressive coach, Sebastian DE Saber. Sadio Mane’s scored from a counter-attack after only fifteen minutes to secure the qualification for Senegal to the next round.
The Green Eagles to the quarter-final
One of the most exciting games was the match between Nigeria and Cameroon, both teams are very ambitious to win the title due to their history and full-stars squad.
Both teams finished second in the group stages, with a little pit advantage for Cameroon as they are the champions of the last AFCON. Nigeria started the match with high pressure and with a lot of confidence. In the second half, Nigeria made a marvellous come back to score 2 consecutive goals by Ighalo and Arsenal star Iwobi.
Another failure for the Pharaohs
Nigeria will face South Africa in the next round. The “Bafana Bafana” shocked the Egyptians and played a great game against the local team. Playing on the repeated mistakes made by Coach Aguerri, they were able to control the tempo of the match using direct passes and controlled the midfield. Egypt’s goalkeeper El-Shenawy showed how good he is with a number of very good saves.. Five minutes from time, a mistake from the Egyptian defence put Lorch head to head with El-Shenawy to score the winning goal.
The underdog story continues
Madagascar’s president attended their game against DR Congo. The tournament’s underdogs played well again. Madagascar scored a great goal from outside the box, only to concede shortly after Bakambo headed the ball in on the 12th minute. Both teams scored again with the game going to extra time. Madagascar eventually won 2-2 on penalties.
The Warriors win their latest battle
Through determination, focus and strength, Algeria proved that they are here to win the title. They dominated the game against Guinea. From the beginning Mehrez and his teammates control the whole pitch, creating several scoring opportunities, meanwhile defending well. Algeria is through to the next round thanks to goals from El-Blayly, Mehrez and the youngster Onas.
Experience takes Ivory Coast through
With experience and only experience, Côte d’Ivoire won their match against Mali’s youngsters. A silly mistake from the defence allowed Wilfred Zaha to take a chance head to head with the goalkeeper and score the winning goal on the 76th minute.
Another North-African team to the next round
Luckily for Madagascar, Maybe, they will face the “Cartage Eagles” in the quarterfinals. After a horrible performance in the group stages with three deuces, Tunisia manages to beat the black stars through penalty shootouts. Ghana controlled most of the match, creating more chances. Tunisians showed much patience while they played a very good defensive match. Taha Khnessey scored the opening for Tunisia. Ghana got the equalizer at the very end of the match when Elbedwy scored an own goal, taking the match to extra time for yet another penalty shoot-out. Tunisia came out on top.