Previewing the AFCON Quarterfinals

AFCON 2021 is entering the end stages of the tournament! The round of 16 was full of exciting matches, and now the quarterfinals are set. eight teams are left and looking to make it to the semifinals. Each Nation left can see its own path to becoming champions of Africa; here’s a preview of the AFCON Quarterfinals

Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH

AFCON Quarter Finals

The quarterfinals are set, but how did we get here? The Round of 16 produced some great action including three matches that were decided in penalty shootouts Here’s how the last eight teams made it to the quarterfinals.

  • Burkina Faso 1 (7) – Gabon 1 (6)
  • Nigeria 0 – Tunisia 1
  • Guinea 0 – Gambia 1
  • Cameroon 2 – Comoros 1
  • Senegal 2 – Cape Verde 0
  • Morocco 2 – Malawi 1
  • Ivory Coast 0 (4) – Egypt 0 (5)
  • Mali 0 (5) – Equatorial Guinea 0 (6)

Now that we know who is still standing it’s important to dive deep into how they match up, and who could have the advantage to make the semifinals. Let’s take a look at the matches in the quarterfinals.

Gambia vs Cameroon

Gambia was the runner-up in Group F at the tournament and faced off against Guinea in the Round of 16. They were far from the better team in that matchup but were able to find the game’s only goal in the 71st minute. Now they get to take on hosts in Cameroon.

Cameroon won Group A and faced off against a Comoros side that had to play a field player in goal due to Covid in the Round of 16. Cameroon dominated the game and got two goals by the 70th minute; Comoros did find a stunning goal to get one back, but the hosts prevailed to move on to Gambia in the Quarterfinals.

Cameroon is the overwhelming favorite. They like to dominate the ball and will be able to against Gambia. The difference will come in the form of goals. If Cameroon can score sooner rather than later, then they will have the upper hand. The longer Gambia stays in the game the better chance they have at sneaking in a winner.

Burkina Faso vs Tunisa

Burkina Faso was able to claim the second-place spot in Group A. They drew Gabon in the Round of 16 and was a stoppage-time tying goal away from winning in 90 minutes. The match would go past the 120-minute mark and penalties would decide the outcome. Burkina Faso was able to win in a thrilling penalty shootout 7-6 and now face off with Tunisia in the quarterfinals.

Tunisia was one of the four best third-place teams that made the Round of 16. They drew a tough matchup in Nigeria but didn’t let the opponent get them down. While Nigeria was the better team on paper, Tunisia repelled them at every stage and found a goal early in the second half which carried them to the quarterfinals and a matchup with Burkina Faso.

Tunisia is the favorite coming into this quarterfinal match; however, Burkina Faso has won the two previous meetings between these two sides. This one feels like another thrilling, low-scoring, match that goes to penalty kicks.

Egypt vs Morocco

Egypt was the runner-up in their group and drew a matchup against the Ivory Coast in the Round of 16. It was one of the most anticipated matches of the Round of 16 and it didn’t disappoint. It would be decided in a penalty shootout, where Egypt converted all of their penalties and Ivory Coast missed one. Egypt advanced to play Morocco in the quarterfinals.

Morocco won their group and was able to play one of the four best third-place teams in Malawi. In their Round of 16 matches, Morocco was caught napping early on and went down 1-0. They eventually equalized and then found the winner in the 70th minute to set up what could be one of the best quarterfinal matches!

Egypt vs Morocco should be a thrilling match. Both teams are considered top national teams in Africa. Who will come out on top? Will it be the reserved Egypt who leans maybe a bit too much on their star Mo Salah, or will it be Morocco a nation unbeaten at AFCON 2021?

Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea

Senegal Won their group and took care of business against Cape Verde in the round of 16. They were pre-tournament favorites to win the whole thing, and that’s not looking like a bad bet now. They move on to the quarterfinals where they’ll face unlikely foes Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea was not supposed to make it out of their group, yet they finished second in it. When they made the Round of 16 everyone counted them out against Mali, but they went the distance and won in a thrilling penalty shootout. Can they continue to defy the odds and take out a tournament favorite to make the Semifinals?

Senegal is obviously the favorite in this match. They are the only team that still has not been scored on in AFCON 2021, but could they lose to this Equatorial Guinea side? They’ll have the belief and the underdog mentality, but Senegal has yet to be broken down. This one feels like another win for Senegal.

Who will make the Semifinals?

The quarterfinals are set and play out this weekend. Don’t miss out on any of the action of what has been an amazing tournament to start off 2022. Here are the matchups and times for the games.

  • Gambia vs Cameroon – Saturday, Jan. 29 – 11 am EST
  • Burkina Faso vs Tunisia – Saturday, Jan. 29 – 2 pm EST
  • Egypt vs Morocco – Sunday, Jan. 30 – 10 am EST
  • Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea – Sunday, Jan. 30 – 2 pm EST

Will we see late drama, penalty kicks, favorites move on, or fall to an underdog? We’ll have to tune in to find out!

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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH

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