Ivory Coast, the host nation, secured a thrilling 5-4 victory on penalties, eliminating defending champions Senegal from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite being considered underdogs due to their qualification as one of the best third-placed teams following a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, the Elephants displayed resilience against the confident Teranga Lions.
Senegal took an early lead with Habib Diallo scoring in the 4th minute, assisted by Sadio Mane. However, led by captain Serge Aurier, Ivory Coast fought bravely. In the second half, they earned a penalty, expertly converted by substitute Franck Kessie, leveling the score and leading the game into extra time.
The additional time proved intense, with neither team managing to secure a decisive goal, forcing a penalty shootout. Ivory Coast emerged triumphant, sparking exuberant celebrations among their fervent home fans in Yamoussoukro.
This outcome is a significant shift in the tournament, as the defending champions are now out. Ivory Coast’s unexpected victory has opened up the competition, and they will face either Mali or Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals. The spirited performance of the Elephants has instilled hope among their supporters, as they aim to extend their improbable journey in the competition.