Host nation Ivory Coast will have to rely on other results to avoid a shock Africa Cup of Nations group-stage exit after Equatorial Guinea thrashed the Elephants in a huge upset in Abidjan.
Emilio Nsue’s double, Pablo Ganet’s 25-yard free-kick and Yannick Buyla’s late goal gave the National Thunder a famous win that sealed top spot in Group A.
The hosts must sweat on qualification after finishing third in the group.
The four best third-placed sides across the six groups progress to the last 16.
Ibrahim Sangare twice had equalisers ruled out for the Ivorians when they were only a goal behind, but the Elephants wasted a host of chances and were made to pay by their clinical opposition.
Some Ivorian players were in tears at the final whistle as they were loudly booed off by an angry partisan crowd at Alassane Ouattara Stadium after one of the biggest surprises in Afcon history.
The Equatorial Guinea contingent, meanwhile, celebrated wildly after registering another seismic victory at the finals and they will face a third-placed side from Group C, D, or E in the last 16 on Sunday.
Their best performance at an Afcon tournament was reaching the semi-finals as hosts in 2015 but they finished above three-time champions Nigeria and the Ivorians, two-time winners, in an unexpected twist.
Ivory Coast will have to wait for the rest of the groups to finish on Wednesday to see if their three points and a goal difference of -3 is enough to sneak through to the knockout stages.
Elephants left to bite nails after shock hammering
When Nsue steered Equatorial Guinea into the lead against the run of play from Carlos Akapo’s cross near the end of the first half, Ivory Coast boss Jean-Louis Gasset held his head in his hands on the sidelines.
Little did he know that there was far, far worse to come for his charges.
Fortune was not on their side, admittedly – Sangare thought he had prodded them level almost instantly and the stadium erupted only for the video assistant referee to rule his close-range finish out for offside.
When the Nottingham Forest midfielder curled home a lovely left-footed strike early in the second half, the VAR decision was far more marginal but also correct as the home fans were again left crestfallen.
But the Elephants were also guilty of passing up a raft of chances at 1-0 down, with Sangare blazing wildly over from close range and Christian Kouame denied one-on-one by goalkeeper Jesus Owono.
And, after Ganet’s fabulous free-kick found the top corner in the 73rd minute to leave Yahia Fofana grasping at air, the hosts fell apart defensively as they were regularly caught on the counter.
Two minutes later, former Middlesbrough and Birmingham forward Nsue finished a two-on-one to tuck home his fifth goal of the tournament, leaving the 34-year-old clear as the competition’s leading scorer after his hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Guinea-Bissau.
Substitute Buyla rolled home the fourth late on to round off the rout and worsen not only the host nation’s misery but, perhaps, more significantly, their goal difference too.
At the last Afcon in Cameroon two years ago, two of the four teams to progress from third place had three points – but both had a superior goal difference to that of this tournament’s hosts.
The Elephants still had chances to improve their position after falling two, and even three, goals behind but Karim Konate side-footed a golden opportunity wide while Owono thwarted Jean-Phillipe Krasso.
- 1OwonoBooked at 45mins
- 6SalvadorSubstituted forAsuéat 78′minutes
- 22GanetSubstituted forBalboaat 85′minutes
- 17MirandaBooked at 12minsSubstituted forBuylaat 56′minutes
- 7MachínSubstituted forEnemeat 85′minutesBooked at 88mins
- 10NsueSubstituted forSiafáat 78′minutes
- 12BolyBooked at 72minsSubstituted forAdingraat 83′minutes
- 3KonanSubstituted forKrassoat 64′minutes
- 14DiakitéSubstituted forGradelat 83′minutes
- 19PépéSubstituted forBogaat 65′minutes
- 20KouaméBooked at 45minsSubstituted forKonatéat 65′minutes
Match ends, Equatorial Guinea 4, Côte d’Ivoire 0.
Second Half ends, Equatorial Guinea 4, Côte d’Ivoire 0.
Attempt missed. Karim Konaté (Côte d’Ivoire) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Simon Adingra.
Attempt blocked. Simon Adingra (Côte d’Ivoire) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Seko Fofana.
Attempt missed. Luís Asué (Equatorial Guinea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Basilio Ndong.
Foul by Karim Konaté (Côte d’Ivoire).
Féderico Bikoro (Equatorial Guinea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Seko Fofana (Côte d’Ivoire).
Luís Asué (Equatorial Guinea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Karim Konaté (Côte d’Ivoire) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ibrahim Sangaré.
Corner, Côte d’Ivoire. Conceded by Óscar Siafá.
Attempt blocked. Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.
Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Carlos Akapo (Equatorial Guinea).
Corner, Côte d’Ivoire. Conceded by Saúl Coco.
Simon Adingra (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Luís Asué (Equatorial Guinea).
Goal! Equatorial Guinea 4, Côte d’Ivoire 0. Jannick Buyla (Equatorial Guinea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a fast break.
Attempt saved. Luís Asué (Equatorial Guinea) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesús Owono.
Santiago Eneme (Equatorial Guinea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Source link : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67977896?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA
Publish date : 2024-01-22 19:57:48