AFCON 2023: How Ivory Coast Can Still Reach Round of 16 After Ghana's Collapse in Group B

AFCON 2023: How Ivory Coast Can Still Reach Round of 16 After Ghana's Collapse in Group B

Joel Reyes
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
CAF AFCON
Africa
Ivory Coast logo
Cote DIvoire
Ivory Coast
27
Ghana logo
Ghana
Ghana
24
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
27
Mozambique logo
Mozambique
Mozambique
23
Equatorial Guinea logo
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
32
Didier Drogba logo
D. Drogba
-FIvory Coast logo
  • Ivory Coast finished third in Group A after losing heavily to Equatorial Guinea on Monday
  • The Elephants' last 16 hopes were boosted by Ghana's late collapse against Mozambique
  • Four third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations

The dream looked to be over for Ivory Coast after they suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

They finished third in Group A as a result, with Nzalang Nacional and Nigeria achieving automatic qualification.

The Elephants still have a shot at advancing to the knockout stage, however, as the four best third-placed teams in this year's AFCON will also qualify for the last 16.

Ivory Coast, AFCON 2023, AFCON, Didier Drogba, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Mohammed Kudus,
Ivory Coast players look disappointed after they suffered a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Images: ISSOUF SANOGO.
Source: Getty Images

They needed the help of teams in the other groups for their run in the tournament to continue.

Ghana collapse gives Ivory Coast fans hope

That already happened later on Monday, with Mozambique giving Ivory Coast a huge favour with their late comeback against Ghana.

The Mambas scored two goals in second-half injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw against Ghana. That was a huge blow for the Black Stars, who finished their Group B campaign in third place with just two points scored.

With Ghana's late collapse, Ivory Coast only need one more third-placed team to finish below them in points for them to advance.

In case another third-placed team ends up with the same number of points, goal difference will be used as a tie-breaker, per Graphic.

AFCON Group A table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Equatorial Guinea

2

1

0

6

7

Nigeria

2

1

0

2

7

Ivory Coast

1

0

2

-3

3

Guinea Bissau

0

0

3

-5

0

As it stands, the Elephants have three points and a goal difference of -3 following their 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea.

AFCON Group B table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Cape Verde

2

1

0

4

7

Egypt

0

3

0

0

3

Ghana

0

2

1

-1

2

Mozambique

0

2

1

-3

2

Ghana's last 16 hopes look bleak after their meltdown against Mozambique. The Black Stars have two points and a goal difference of -1.

AFCON Group C table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Senegal (Q)

2

0

0

5

6

Guinea

1

1

0

1

4

Cameroon

0

1

1

-2

1

Gambia

0

0

2

-4

0

Defending champions, Senegal will face Guinea while Cameroon will lock horns with the Gambia in the final round of matches in Group C.

Ivory Coast will be paying special attention to the Cameroon vs. Gambia match. The Elephants will advance to the last 16 if that game ends in a draw or Gambia record a 1-0 victory over the Indomitable Lions.

AFCON Group D table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Angola

1

1

0

1

4

Burkina Faso

1

1

0

1

4

Algeria

0

2

1

0

2

Mauritania

0

0

2

-2

0

Angola will face Burkina Faso and Algeria will square off against Mauritania in the final round of fixtures in Group D. Unfortunately for Ivory Coast, the third-placed team in Group D will finish higher than them.

If the Algeria vs. Mauritania match ends in a draw, the Fennecs will be tied with Ivory Coast at three points. They will have a better goal difference, though, than the host nation.

If Mauritania beat Algeria in that contest, the Almoravids will be tied with Ivory Coast at three points. They will have a better goal difference, though, than the Elephants.

AFCON Group E table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Mali

1

1

0

2

4

South Africa

1

0

1

2

3

Namibia

1

0

1

-3

3

Tunisia

0

1

1

-1

1

South Africa will face Tunisia and Namibia will lock horns with Mali in the final round of matches in Group E. The game will take place on Wednesday, January 24, per CAF.

For Ivory Coast to reach the last 16, they will need Bafana Bafana to avoid defeat against Tunisia and Mali to beat Namibia in the other match.

The Brave Warriors will be tied with the Elephants at three points in such a scenario, but Ivory Coast will have a better goal difference.

Ivory Coast also will advance to the knockout round if Mali defeat Namibia and Tunisia win their match against South Africa by at least six goals.

Bafana Bafana losing by such a large margin is an unlikely scenario, but stranger things have happened in this year's AFCON already.

AFCON Group F table

Country

Win

Draw

Loss

Goal Difference

Points

Morocco

1

1

0

3

4

DR Congo

0

2

0

0

2

Zambia

0

2

0

0

2

Tanzania

0

1

1

-3

1

Morocco will face Zambia and DR Congo will lock horns with Tanzania in the final round of games in Group F.

Ivory Coast will be rooting for the Atlas Lions in their match against Zambia, as a Morocco victory would seal their qualification for the last 16.

The third-placed team in Group F will only have two points if Morocco record the victory against Chipolopolo.

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Disappointed Drogba goes viral

Sports Brief has also reported on Didier Drogba's reaction to Ivory Coast's loss to Equatorial Guinea.

The Chelsea legend looked disappointed as he watched his team get destroyed by Nzalang Nacional.

Emilio Nsue scored twice to sink the hosts, whose hopes of reaching the last 16 were left in tatters.

Authors
Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at Sportsbrief.com with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.