Ivory Coast’s Road to AFCON 2023 Final: Who’s Next for the Hosts After Mali Win in Last 8

Ivory Coast’s Road to AFCON 2023 Final: Who’s Next for the Hosts After Mali Win in Last 8

Joel Reyes
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
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  • Ivory Coast qualified for the knockouts as one of four best third-placed teams
  • The hosts defeated Mali in the quarter-finals to book a spot in the next round
  • The Elephants will next face DR Congo in the AFCON semi-finals

The dream lives on for Ivory Coast after they defeated Mali in their quarter-final matchup on Saturday.

The Elephants sent their fans into a frenzy when they battled back from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Eagles in extra time.

The job's not done for the hosts, however, as they still need two more victories to claim their third AFCON title.

Ivory Coast, Mali, AFCON 2023, South Africa, Nigeria
Ivory Coast players celebrate after Diakite scored a late goal vs. Mali. Image: Issouf SANOGO.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at their upcoming semi-final matchup and the road they will need to take to reach the final and win the coveted championship.

Ivory Coast edge past Mali

After dethroning the reigning AFCON champs on penalties, the hosts shifted their focus to their showdown with Mali in the quarter-finals.

Mali qualified for the knockout round after finishing top of Group E. They went unbeaten in the group stage, recording a win against South Africa and drawing their matches against Namibia and Tunisia.

The Elephants last faced Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations back in 2019. They squared off in the round of 16, with Ivory Coast winning 1-0. Wilfried Zaha scored the game's lone goal in the 76th minute.

Just like in the match against Senegal, Ivory Coast needed late-game heroics from their players to produce the dramatic win.

Simon Adingra forced extra time after scoring a goal in the 90th minute. Oumar Diakite then scored the goal of his life in the 122nd minute, with his last-gasp strike sending the Elephants to the semis.

Ivory Coast's semis opponent

The hosts will next face DR Congo in the semis.

DR Congo defeated Guinea 3-1 in the quarters to reach the Final Four. The Leopards finally recorded their first win in regulation time in this tournament.

Les Elephants last faced DR Congo in the Africa Cup of Nations back in 2017 during the group stage. The match finished 2-2 with Wilfried Bony and Serey Die the goal-scorers for Ivory Coast.

The AFCON 2023 semi-finals will take place on Wednesday, February 7, per CAF.

Ivory Coast's possible final opponents

South Africa and Nigeria won their respective quarter-final games to arrange an intriguing semis matchup.

Bafana Bafana defeated Cape Verde in a penalty shootout, while the Super Eagles recorded a 1-0 win over Angola.

One of these two teams will reach the AFCON 2023 final. That match is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 11.

Will Ivory Coast reach that grand stage and play the final in front of their home crowd? We'll soon find out.

AFCON 2023 semi finalists

All four teams that reached the Final Four have reached the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations before.

Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Nigeria, and South Africa all have won the AFCON championship in the past.

Sports Brief reported that the Elephants last won the title in 2015.

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.
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