2023 AFCON: Ivory Coast on brink of exit after shocking defeat to Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea beat Algeria on the way to the quarter-finals at the 2021 Afcon finals, and added Ivory Coast to their list of scalps at the finals
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 Group A.
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.