AFCON: Four Thunder strike send Elephants to the canvas at AFCON

Posted : 23 January 2024

The National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea sent a devastating lightning that struck the hosts Elephants of Ivory Coast four times in what could be best regarded as an embarrassing moment in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The more uncomfortable situation is that Ivory Coast's qualification as a lucky loser is much hanging in the balance.


Recall that the biggest defeat for Ivory Coast was 0-5 to the Netherlands on June 4, 2017 at Rotterdam, and the VAR disqualified the two goals the Ivoirians scored at the Alassane Quattara Stadium, Ebimpe. As the Elephants stumble, Nigeria’s Super Eagles, who went into their match against the African Wild Dogs with a dream to top Group A, only get a low flight above the Wild Dogs at the Felix Houphouet 1-0 in a miserable victory because they were not clinical in the penalty box.


Nigeria, with the accolade of having the best strikers in the tournament, had eleven shots at goal, and only one was on target, showing a lesser mark of champions. At the revelation of the Total Energy African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Emilo Nsue of Equatorial Guinea, who is the only player to have a hat trick to his credit at this tournament, went on rampage yet again, striking like true thunder twice with a brace, bringing his goal haul to five, the highest by any player in the tournament.


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Nsue, who got his hat trick against Guinea-Bissau on January 18, scored in the 42nd minute and scored his third goal against Ivory Coast in the 75th minute. Pablo Ganet scored the second goal against Ivory Coast in the 73rd minute, while Jannick Buyla Sam topped it up in the 88th minute.


Incidentally, Nigeria’s veteran attacker and former Green Eagles captain, Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, was there live at the stadium. He told the players on Sunday that he believes assuredly that Nigeria will lift the trophy, and these crops of players can do it. Well, I report that despite the low scoring performance of the Super Eagles, every national team in Ivory Coast is afraid of the Nigerians.


However, the Thunders of Equatorial Guinea majestically topped Group A with 7 points, scoring 9 goals and conceding 3 with +6 goals difference; Nigeria qualified, placing 2nd with 7 points too but scoring 3 goals and conceding 1 goal with +2 goals difference; hosts Ivory Coast threw the entire country into mourning, placing 3rd with 3 points, scoring 2 goals and conceding 5 goals and having a -3 goals deficit, which is tight for a lucky losers’ place among the four teams that may be pushed into the last 16. The African Wild Dogs will tuck their tails in between their legs and take the next flight home, as the team placed 4th with a point, scored 2 goals, and conceded 7 goals.


I confirm that four teams are on standby now for the last 16 matches. Equatorial Guinea will play on Sunday at 6 p.m.; Nigeria will play on Sunday too at 9 p.m. Cape Verde, despite having an outstanding match, will play on Monday, but Senegal, which has qualified, will wait to meet Guinea in Group C tomorrow to know who tops the group. The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the African Wild Dog of Guinea-Bissau met three times, first at an AFCON match on January 19, 2022, where Nigeria won by a lone goal, and again on March 24, 2023.


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