AFCON: Who qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2024 African Cup of Nations?
by Joseph King | by Joseph King
2024 African Cup of Nations: Most memorable results from the round of 16
There has been no shortage of jaw-dropping results in what has arguably been the most drama-filled African Cup of Nations ever. Below were some of the pivotal matches from a frantic round of 16.
Morocco vs South Africa
Morocco were left stunned by South Africa on Tuesday after Bafana Bafana pulled off an unlikely 2-0 victory. Following their unbelievably impressive run to the World Cup semi-final, Morocco looked primed to claim their first AFCON crown since 1976 as consensus tournament favorites. Perhaps a level of complacency set in as their star-studded team was heavily favored to get the win over the much more modest South African squad. However, South Africa were clearly not intimidated by their opponents and would have drawn confidence from beating Morocco in June of 2023 in AFCON qualifying.
Senegal vs Ivory Coast
Undoubtedly the marquee matchup of the round saw Senegal taking on the Ivory Coast. It was also the first time since 2002 that the host nation squared off against the defending champions. Senegal were the only team in the tournament to get a perfect three wins from three in the group stage while Ivory Coast needed a miracle to sneak in as one of the best third-place teams. With the defending champs looking to be clicking and the hosts out of sorts after rushing to bring in a replacement manager, it’s no surprise that Senegal were the favorites. However, the Elephants would go on to show what makes this tournament so special. A late Franck Kessie equalizer from the spot tied the game up at 1-1 which led to Ivory Coast winning a penalty shootout by a score of 5-4 to move on to the last eight.
Egypt vs DR Congo
History was made as the African Cup of Nations saw two teams that had drawn all three of their prior games facing off in the round of 16. Egypt never seemed to recover after losing their captain and talisman Mo Salah to injury in the first game of the group stage. A string of terrible defensive performances saw the Pharaohs concede seven goals in their four total matches, the most they’ve allowed in over 40 years. The seven-time AFCON winners would eventually be defeated by two-time winners DR Congo on penalties after a 1-1 scoreline following the 90 minutes of play.
Nigeria vs Cameroon
Another round of 16 matchup which saw two of the continent's heavyweights going at it was Nigeria vs Cameroon. An Ademola Lookman brace combined with the third consecutive clean sheet for the Super Eagles meant that Nigeria would prevail by a scoreline of 2-0. It also represented the ninth time since the year 2000 that the three-time winners had advanced to at least this stage. Cameroon’s inconsistent defense ended up costing them in this African Cup of Nations with their eight total goals allowed tied for the most that the nation has conceded in this competition.
Qualified teams from the round of 16
- Angola (3-0 vs Namibia)
- Nigeria (2-0 vs Cameroon)
- Guinea (1-0 vs Equatorial Guinea)
- DR Congo (1-1; 8-7 penalties vs Egypt)
- Cape Verde (1-0 vs Mauritania)
- Ivory Coast (1-1; 5-4 penalties vs Senegal)
- Mali (2-1 vs Burkina Faso)
- South Africa (2-0 vs Morocco)
AFCON 2024: Quarter-final matchups
The excitement of the 2024 African Cup of Nations will continue into the quarter-finals with a number of intriguing fixtures. With the competition's top five ranked sides already eliminated, there is a real sense that this edition of the tournament is as wide open as it has ever been. Additionally, none of the quarter-finalists from the 2021 AFCON have made it to this year’s final eight while none of Africa’s 2022 World Cup teams are left standing, either.
Will we see a new champion be crowned in Guinea, Mali, Cape Verde or Angola? Or will the more seasoned nations like Nigeria and Ivory Coast benefit from their experience at the latter stages? Continue reading below to see the upcoming four matches between the remaining eight teams.
Path clear for Nigeria
The path has opened up for the highest-ranked remaining team in Nigeria to make a run to the final thanks to their favorable draw. They’ll face off against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition in Angola (ranked 117th at the start of the tournament) and will then meet up with the winner of Cape Verde vs South Africa. This means that Nigeria dodges a potential matchup with host nation Ivory Coast or Mali (the two next highest ranked teams) until the final should either side make it.
High-stakes clash between Ivory Coast and Mali
Hosts Ivory Coast take to the field against Mali in what promises to be another must-see matchup. The winner of this fixture will have a favorable road to the final with either DR Congo or Guinea awaiting them in the semi-finals. It’s been a bizarre tournament for Ivory Coast who were on the verge of a group stage elimination after their 4-0 capitulation to Equatorial Guinea to close the group stage. However, the Elephants would get the exact results needed from other teams to stay alive and were able to redeem themselves by knocking out defending champions Senegal in the previous round. Mali have been flying somewhat under the radar but have continued to impress. They are sure to provide stiff competition to the host nation and will have a golden opportunity to win their first ever AFCON should they prevail in this game.
Below is the full quarter-final schedule (UK timezone):
- Nigeria vs Angola - Friday, February 2nd (5:00 PM)
- DR Congo vs Guinea - Friday, February 2nd (8:00 PM)
- Mali vs Ivory Coast - Saturday, February 3rd (5:00 PM)
- Cape Verde vs South Africa, February 3rd (8:00 PM)
You can follow the action for every single game at the 2024 African Cup of Nations by heading over to our AFCON Livescores page.
2024 AFCON Golden Boot race
The surprise goalscorer of the tournament so far has been Emilio Nsue. The Equatorial Guinea striker, who has played for Mallorca, Middlesbrough and Birmingham, netted all five of his goals in the group stage with three coming against Guinea-Bissau in a 4-2 win. With Equatorial Guinea eliminated in the round of 16, Nsue will be unable to add to his current tally. However, it could be enough to still claim the award as only once since the year 2000 has a player scored more than five goals in the African Cup of Nations (Vincent Aboubakar in 2021 with eight goals). Nsue is the current oddsmakers’ favorite to claim the award while Angola’s Gelson Dala (four goals) and Agostinho Mabululu (three goals) come in as the second and third favorites.
Interestingly, despite having only a single goal to his name in this year's AFCON, Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen finds himself as the fourth favorite to claim the Golden Boot. This is down to the Napoli star striker’s supreme talent and Nigeria’s favorable path to the final.
Current top scorers at the quarter-finals stage:
|Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea)
|Gelson Dala (Angola)
|Agostinho Mabululu (Angola)
|Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria)
|Jordan Ayew (Ghana)
|Lassine Sinayoko (Mali)
|Ademola Lookman (Nigeria)
|Themba Zwane (South Africa)
Current Golden Boot odds
- Nsue - 1.40
- Gelson Dala - 3.50
- Mabululu - 12.00
- Osimhen - 13.00
- Lookman - 15.00
- Sinayoko - 34.00
Odds found on bet365
AFCON 2024: Has there been a major shift in the betting odds?
With the two favorites having been eliminated in the round of 16, it goes without saying that there has been a serious shakeup to the tournament winner odds. Below you’ll see just how much they’ve changed from before the start of the competition to just ahead of the quarter-finals.
- Nigeria 9.00 → 2.88
- Ivory Coast 7.00 → 4.00
- Mali 25.00 → 7.00
- DR Congo 41.00 → 11.00
- South Africa 51.00 → 12.00
- Cape Verde 101.00 → 13.00
- Guinea 81.00 → 13.00
- Angola 201.00 → 21.00
Odds found on bet365
Be sure to check out our experts’ insights by heading over to SportyTrader’s AFCON betting tips page!