Africa Cup of Nations: Who is in the last 16 and when are the games?

All the action continues on Sunday

Pa Sport Staff
Friday 21 January 2022 09:29
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Egypt are in the last 16 (Themba Hadebe/AP)
Egypt are in the last 16 (Themba Hadebe/AP)

The Africa Cup of Nations is heading into the knock-out stage after completion of the final round of group fixtures on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the last-16 ties.

Burkina Faso v Gabon

January 23, Limbe, 1600 GMT

Burkina Faso, who are 60th in the FIFA world rankings, went through to the last 16 as runners-up behind Cameroon from Group A, but only by the narrowest of margins. After losing their opener to the hosts, the Stallions beat Cape Verde and then drew with Ethiopia. That saw them finish level with Cape Verde, but their superior head-to-head record saw them take second place.

Gabon made it to the knock-out stages for the first time since 2012 after finishing second in Group C behind Morocco. However, the Panthers will be missing Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has returned to his club for health checks amid reports of indiscipline, which the striker denied as “false rumours”.

Nigeria v Tunisia

January 23, Garoua, 1900

Nigeria underlined their status as one of the favourites by becoming the only nation to qualify with a 100 per cent record. Beating Egypt in their opening match set up a relatively straightforward passage with wins over Sudan and Guinea-Bissaua, and the Super Eagles have conceded just one goal in three games.

Tunisia qualified as one of the best third-placed teams despite losing two of their group games, thanks to a convincing 4-0 win over Mauritania. The group stage ended on a low note as they were beaten 1-0 by Gambia after having a man sent off. They have also missed a penalty in all three of their games.

Guinea v Gambia

January 24, Bafoussam, 1600

Guinea reached the last 16 after edging out Malawi to secure second place in Group B behind Senegal The National Elephants have captain Naby Keita at the heart of their team, with the Liverpool midfielder scoring a fine strike in the 2-1 defeat to already eliminated Zimbabwe in the final group game.

Gambia are revelling in their maiden appearance at the tournament. The Scorpions qualified unbeaten after taking second spot in Group F with seven points from their three games. The group phase ended in dramatic fashion with their last-gasp win over Tunisia but Mali pipped them to top spot.

Cameroon v Comoros

January 24, Yaounde, 1900

The Indomitable Lions will hope to continue making full use of home advantage, having progressed undefeated at the top of Group A with Al-Nassr forward Vincent Aboubakar scoring five goals. Cameroon are unbeaten in their capital since 1988 and will be favourites to extend that record when they meet surprise package Comoros.

Comoros, Africa’s fourth-smallest country, pulled off a huge shock when they stunned Ghana in their final group game. The unexpected 3-2 win, their only victory of first round, not only put the islanders into contention for a third-place qualification spot but eliminated the much-fancied, four-times champions Ghana in the process. Results elsewhere then fell into place to see them through.

Senegal v Cape Verde

January 25, Bafoussam, 1600

Senegal were undefeated in the group stage, but did play out two goalless draws after opening with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe secured by stoppage-time penalty from Liverpool forward Sadio Mane. The Lions of Teranga, the top African side in FIFA’s rankings in 20th place, have plenty of other Premier League interest in their squad in Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Leicester’s Nampalys Mendy and Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, but Watford’s Ismaila Sarr is out injured.

Cape Verde, an Atlantic archipelago named after a peninsula on the Senegal coast to its west, went through as one of the best third-placed teams after claiming four points in Group A. The 2013 quarter-finalists lack the star names of Senegal but Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes has provided plenty of interest for Irish viewers.

Morocco v Malawi

January 25, Yaounde, 1900

Morocco clinched top spot in Group C after fighting back to earn a 2-2 draw against Gabon in the final match through a superb free-kick from Paris Saint-Germain right-back Achraf Hakimi with just six minutes left. The Atlas Lions – captained by Wolves defender Romain Saiss, with Watford duo Adam Masina and Imran Louza also part of the squad – are trying to reach the final for the first time since they were runners-up in 2004.

Malawi are through to the knockout stages for the first time after qualifying from Group C as one of the best third-placed teams. The Flames, minnows in the tournament at 129 in the FIFA rankings, were beaten in their opener by Guinea but then revived hopes by beating Zimbabwe 2-1. A highly creditable goalless draw with Senegal, coupled with results elsewhere, clinched their place.

Ivory Coast v Egypt

January 26, Douala, 1600

Ivory Coast have been one of the form teams so far and they secured top spot in Group E in style with a convincing 3-1 win over defending champions Algeria, eliminating the holders in the process. Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe scored a superb individual goal in that game and the Elephants, with other Premier League goal threats such as Wilfried Zaha and Maxwel Cornet in their squad, look sharp.

Despite having Mohamed Salah, arguably the most in-form player in the world at present, Egypt are yet to fire in the tournament. An opening defeat to Nigeria was followed by 1-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau – when Salah scored his first goal of the tournament – and Sudan, which saw them through as Group D runners-up.

Mali v Equatorial Guinea

January 26, Limbe, 1900

Mali were involved in one of the tournament’s more bizarre episodes as the final whistle was blown prematurely – twice – in their opener against Tunisia. They eventually emerged from a chaotic finish to top Group F after two more solid results, a 1-1 draw against Gambia and 2-0 win over Mauritania.

Equatorial Guinea bounced back from defeat to Ivory Coast in their first match by producing a stunning upset against holders Algeria in their second outing. The 1-0 win, secured by a goal from unheralded defender Esteban Obiang, was one of the biggest shocks in the history of the tournament. They followed up by beating Sierra Leone 1-0 to go through.

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