The round of 16 in the African Cup of Nations provided us with some dramatic moments and a fair few shocks as some of the more established teams, and favourites for the tournament, were eliminated. The biggest shock was that host nation Egypt, who had not conceded a goal in their three group games, went down to a shock 1-0 defeat to the unfancied South Africa.
The other finalists from four years ago, Cameroon, were also eliminated as they went down 3-2 in an entertaining game against Nigeria. Further shocks also saw Benin defeat Morocco 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, while Madagascar’s incredible run continued at the expense of the D.R.Congo, who after a 2-2 draw lost to the underdog islanders 4-2 on penalties.
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Round of 16 Results
Here is how each of the eight Round of 16 ties went:
- Morocco 1-1 Benin (Benin win 4-1 on penalties)
- Uganda 0-1 Senegal
- Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon
- Egypt 0-1 South Africa
- Madagascar 2-2 D.R.Congo (Madagascar win 4-2 on penalties)
- Algeria 3-0 Guinea
- Mali 0-1 Ivory Coast
- Ghana 1-1 Tunisia (Tunisia win 5-4 on penalties)
The most dominating performance in the Round of 16 came from Algeria, who were worthy winners over a disappointing Guinea side that badly missed the injured Naby Keita. Riyad Mahrez scored the pick of the goals for Algeria with a marvellous control and finish to put them 2-0 ahead in the game early in the second half.
Another Premier League star, Wilfred Zaha, scored the winner for Ivory Coast against Mali in a tight encounter, while last gasp equalisers for DR Congo and Ghana proved futile in the end as despite the last gasp reprieve, both teams went out on penalties to Madagascar and Tunisia respectively.
There are four players in the tournament that currently have three goals each.
- Cedric Bakumbu (DR Congo)
- Odion Ighalo (Nigeria)
- Adam Ounas (Algeria)
- Sadio Mane (Senegal)
Despite having scored three goals, Mane has also missed two penalties for Senegal in the tournament thus far.
Quarter Final Draw, Preview and Tips
The quarterfinals will be played on the 10th and 11th July (Wednesday and Thursday this week) and are as follows:
Wednesday 10th July
Senegal v Benin
Senegal come into this game as the favourites to win it (9/20 with bet365) with Benin the massive 8/1 underdogs and there is a good reason for that. Benin, while tough to beat, have not won a game at the tournament yet, drawing all four of their matches played and only beating Morocco via a penalty shootout.
Senegal have tasted defeat but have also won the other three games they have played, however they have been somewhat profligate in front of goal with Sadio Mane missing two penalties, something which may well prey on their minds should the game reach the latter stages with both teams all-square.
I think this is a game Benin will want to take the full distance as they do not score many goals and their best chance it so keep Senegal out but I feel this Senegal team is too strong and will likely find the net at least once and if they do, that should be enough. You can back a 1-0 win for Senegal at 10/3 at bet365 Sport and I think that is a nice correct score bet here.
Nigeria v South Africa
After losing to Madagascar in their final Group game, Nigeria bounced back well to produce a much better display against Cameroon and record a superb 3-2 win over the indomitable Lions. That win, handed to them by a fine winner from Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, takes them into a quarterfinal tie against one of the teams that pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament so far.
Nobody gave South Africa much of a chance against Egypt, but in truth, they richly deserved their win after a superb performance against the host nation. Now they face another very difficult test against Nigeria in a game that the bookies have the Super Eagles as the even money favourites for.
It is easy to see why, South Africa didn’t really impress in the group stage and Nigeria did look much more fluent against Cameroon the last time out, and Cameroon are a much better side than South Africa are at the moment, notwithstanding that fine win against Egypt.
As such, I am backing Nigeria to take the win here and I think 2-1 to Nigeria at 9/1 is the value bet.
Thursday 11th July
Madagascar v Tunisia
Madagascar’s incredible performance at this tournament continued with a superb win on penalties over the D.R.Congo in the last round and in truth, it was a game that they could and should have won in normal time, only for their opponents to grab a somewhat fortuitous last minute equaliser to force the game into extra time.
They face a tough task against a Tunisia side that are hardly spectacular, but who, as they showed at the World Cup Finals last year, are very tough to beat.
Madagascar do score some goals though and I think they are going to push Tunisia hard here, but I also feel that the extra experience the North African side have, especially in midfield and attack, could well be to their benefit, especially when you consider how solid their defence has looked.
I fancy this one to be a game that requires extra time or even penalties to decide the winner and while I’d like the Madagascar fairytale to continue, I think Tunisia will prevail on penaltiers. However, for the Correct Score bet here, I would go for a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes, which is an 11/2 shot with bet365.
Ivory Coast v Algeria
There’s no doubt that this Ivory Coast team does have plenty of talented players, but rather like Senegal, they have found goals somewhat difficult to come by in the tournament so far and I can’t see that changing here against the team, who for me, have been the best in the tournament so far.
I have been hugely impressed by Algeria. They came through a tough group winning all three games, without conceding a goal and then they were utterly dominant in their quarterfinal with Guinea and racked in another three goals. Their nine in the tournament so far is the most any team have scored.
For me, the Ivory Coast arguably have a better squad in terms of individual players, but I feel Algeria are by far the more complete unit as a team and I think it will be this that sees them through. They may concede their first goal of the tournament but I still fancy the Algerian side to go through. Back Algeria to win 2-1 at 17/2 with bet365.