Furious Nigeria supporters stormed the pitch at the National Stadium in Lagos after rivals Ghana sealed a World Cup spot at the expense of the Super Eagles.

Arsenal's Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 10th minute for Ghana, before William Troost-Ekong levelled from the penalty spot for the hosts midway through the first half.

Nigeria could not find a crucial second goal, however, with Otto Addo's Ghana side holding on for the 1-1 draw, to progress to Qatar 2022 via away goals after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

The result sparked ugly scenes inside the stadium, with videos on social media showing supporters leaving their seats and smashing equipment at the side of the pitch.

There was heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt after they suffered another dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Senegal.

Hosts Senegan recovered from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat Egypt by the same margin at the Abdoulaye Wade Stadium, before Salah, with dozens of laser pens seemingly pointing at his face, fired Egypt's first penalty of the shoot-out over the bar.

Mostafa Mohamed later failed with the visitors' fourth kick, allowing Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane to slam his penalty past Mohamed El Shenawy and seal Senegal's progress, in a repeat of February's Africa Cup of Nations final triumph.

"We try our best but today was not enough," he wrote. "To all my players and my staff, [I give] my recognition and humble thank you.

"You will be always in my heart. It was my privilege to work and be helped by such dedicated and capable professionals and wonderful friends."

There was stunning late drama in Bilda as Karl Toko Ekambi scored late in extra time to seal a 2-1 win for visitors Cameroon against Algeria, the Indomitable Lions progressing to Qatar via away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Algeria thought they had sealed a place at the World Cup when Ahmed Touba cancelled out Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's opener with two minutes remaining in extra time, but there was just enough time left for Ekambi to seal the most dramatic of victories.

Morocco also booked their place in Friday's World Cup draw with an emphatic 4-1 win over Democratic Republic of Congo. A brace from Azzedine Ounahi, as well as goals from Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi, sealed a 5-2 aggregate win over DR Congo, who scored a late consolation through Ben Malango.

Meanwhile, a 0-0 draw for Tunisia against Mali was enough to see the former seal their own place in Qatar after they managed a 1-0 win in the first leg.

Sadio Mane fired Senegal to the World Cup as Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah suffered penalty shoot-out agony with Egypt after being targeted with lasers by fans.

Senegal recovered from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to land victory by the same margin at the Abdoulaye Wade Stadium on Tuesday.

That meant the play-off, tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes of the second leg, went down to a battle of spot-kicks to decide who would go to Qatar 2022, and Salah missed Egypt's first penalty when he fired over the bar.

Lasers flashed across the pitch and were directed at Egypt's star man, who could not find the focus to convert from 12 yards.

The first four penalties were missed, with Salah's the second of those, before both sides netted their third kicks.

Egypt's Mostafa Mohamed failed with the visitors' fourth penalty, seeing his shot blocked, and that allowed Mane to step up and crack a fierce spot-kick past Mohamed El Shenawy, booking a place in Friday's draw.

Will it be Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane? Italy or Portugal – or indeed neither? Can Canada end their long wait, and are the United States and Australia at risk of missing out?

Those questions and plenty more are set to be answered over the next week or so as World Cup qualifying concludes for many nations.

Just 15 of the 32 participants have so far been confirmed for Qatar 2022, leaving 48 teams battling for the 17 remaining spots.

Fourteen more countries will be assured of a finals berth come the end of next week in what is very much crunch time for those still in contention.

Stats Perform looks at the key talking points.

Egypt seeking revenge in AFCON final repeat

Less than two months on from meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations final, Egypt and Senegal face off over two legs for a place in Qatar.

Senegal prevailed in a penalty shoot-out to claim their first AFCON crown and, buoyed by that triumph, will consider themselves as favourites here.

While both teams boast an array of top-class talent, this fixture is being billed as a showdown between Liverpool team-mates Salah and Mane.

The two biggest stars in African football, only one of the pair will be part of the World Cup later this year – and neither will fancy watching it all unfold from home.

This is not the only grudge match taking place in the CAF section over the next week and a half, as fierce rivals Ghana and Nigeria will also face off in a two-legged play-off.

Cameroon are up against Algeria, Mali take on Tunisia and DR Congo meet Morocco in the other three ties, each of which will be concluded on March 29.

European heavyweights on collision course

Since the play-off draw in the UEFA section took place in November, all talk has centered around a potential meeting between Italy and Portugal for a place in the finals.

The winners of the past two European Championships, either the Azzurri or the Selecao will miss out on the biggest tournament of them all.

It should never have been this way, of course, as both teams were strong favourites to finish top of their groups and qualify automatically.

Italy finished second to Switzerland and Portugal were runners-up to Serbia, meaning the sides must now come through two qualifying ties.

First up for the reigning European champions is a meeting with North Macedonia in Palermo, while Portugal face Turkey in Porto, with the winners of both ties advancing.

Should, as expected, Italy and Portugal come through those semi-finals, the latter will have the advantage of staging the final on home soil five days later.

For Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, it presents what will surely be his last chance to play at a record-equalling fifth World Cup.

 

Pathways impacted by political events

Path C of UEFA qualifying is undoubtedly the most eye-catching, but there are also some tasty fixtures in the other two sections – not least a possible Home Nations derby.

Scotland and Wales were kept apart in the Path B semi-finals but could meet in the final should they overcome Ukraine and Austria respectively.

However, due to ongoing events in Ukraine, their game against Scotland has been pushed back – likely until June – as has the final involving either Wales or Austria.

In Path C, Russia had been due to face Poland, but the invasion of Ukraine forced FIFA and UEFA's hand and they have been banned from competing.

Poland have therefore been handed a bye to the qualifying play-off final, where either Sweden or the Czech Republic await. That match will be contested next week as planned.

Canada on verge of ending long wait, USA with work to do

The United States qualified for every World Cup between 1990 and 2014, but they missed out on a place at Russia 2018 after an embarrassing loss to Trinidad and Tobago.

Gregg Berhalter's side are by no means assured of one of the three automatic qualification spots in the CONCACAF section this time around, either.

USA sit second with three games to go, but they still have to travel to third-placed Mexico, as well as facing Panama and Costa Rica, who occupy fourth and fifth respectively.

Level on points with Mexico and four ahead of Costa Rica, it could be a tense finale to qualifying for the Stars and Stripes.

That should not be the case for Canada, who are eight points clear of fourth and are all but assured of ending their 36-year wait to make a second World Cup finals appearance.

Brazil and Argentina through, but who will join them?

The drawn-out South American qualifiers are nearing their conclusion and only four of the 10 sides know their fate at this juncture.

It has been plain sailing for Brazil and Argentina, who are assured of an automatic qualifying spot with three games to go, including a rescheduled meeting between the pair.

Behind those perennial World Cup representatives are Ecuador, who have been the surprise package in qualifying and can finish no lower than fifth.

Ecuador will not be content with anything other than a top-four finish, though, and they can make certain of that with victory over Paraguay.

Assuming Ecuador get over the line, that will leave Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Bolivia battling it out for progression, which sets up some intriguing fixtures.

Uruguay occupy fourth place, meaning their qualifying aspirations are in their own hands, but they have Peru and Chile – the two sides behind them – still to face.

Socceroos sweating on finals spot

Only four teams advance automatically from the CONMEBOL section, with the team in fifth entering a play-off against the winner of the AFC fourth round in a one-off tie in June.

That may well turn out to be Australia as the Socceroos are five and four points behind top two Saudi Arabia and Japan in Group B with two games to go.

However, those remaining two fixtures are against those nations occupying automatic qualification places, so Australia may yet sneak through.

Iran and South Korea have already made certain of progression in Group A, meanwhile, leaving the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq to compete for third place.

The two third-placed finishers – which, as it stands, are Australia and the UAE – will meet in a one-legged match ahead of that aforementioned play-off with a CONMEBOL side.

Jurgen Klopp detailed Mohamed Salah's huge disappointment after returning to Liverpool following Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations final defeat, although the Reds manager hopes he and the team can "benefit" from that pain.

Salah and Egypt were beaten on penalties by Senegal in Sunday's AFCON decider, with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane scoring the winning spot-kick.

While Mane is yet to return amid Senegal's celebrations – granted additional time to "just enjoy it, enjoy themselves" and then "come back as early as possible", likely late on Wednesday – Salah has already rejoined Liverpool.

The superstar winger should be in line to face Leicester City in the Premier League on Thursday, although he is visibly hurting from his international heartbreak.

"He's very disappointed, obviously," boss Klopp said on Wednesday. "It was a massive thing.

"Losing a final is always really, really hard – we can sing that song – but losing the way they lost it is especially hard. That's what he felt, as well.

"He's happy to be back, but he's disappointed as well – massively so. We spoke obviously, about the tournament, everything, and he will deal with that of course.

"I hope today will be already better, but yesterday everybody could see he still has the final on his mind."

Asked how Salah might respond to the setback as Liverpool still pursue four titles, Klopp replied: "Greater determination than Mo already had? I'm not sure that's human.

"Playing a tournament, not knowing where you'll go to, then qualifying in the hardest possible manner for the final, then against the tournament favourites playing a game like Egypt played, an absolutely great final, if you think about what they all invested already before – both teams – and how hard they fought – especially Egypt, how hard they fought to keep a team like Senegal quiet – yes, that all helps in the long term.

"But I don't think there's a lot of space for more determination in Mo's mind. He is very determined.

"Using these kinds of things is the job for all of us when you lose a final – we are obviously the best example for that.

"When you lose a final, it's really hard, really, really hard. But when you use it for the next big game or next big tournament, then it can be at least helpful when it was still hard.

"He will benefit from it, we will benefit from it, but in which [way] exactly, we do not know."

With Salah in the squad and Mane soon to join him, Klopp is close to having a full complement of players to choose from – although he did add captain Jordan Henderson has a back problem.

Liverpool will be aiming to end a run of two straight league defeats to Leicester, last losing three in a row in this fixture in 1963. No team have beaten Klopp's Reds more often in the top flight during his tenure (four – tied with Manchester City).

Senegal hero Sadio Mane has dedicated the side's Africa Cup of Nations triumph to Aliou Cisse who he labelled "the most criticized head coach I've ever seen in my life".

The Liverpool forward went from zero to hero when he netted the decisive spotkick as Senegal defeated Egypt 4-2 in a shootout following a 0-0 draw in Sunday's final where Mane missed a seventh-minute penalty.

Mane's penalty not only clinched Senegal's first-ever continental crown but it was a personal moment of redemption, having missed a decisive spotkick in the 2017 quarter-finals against Cameroon.

But the 29-year-old singled out head coach Cisse, who has 35 caps for Senegal before taking over as head coach in 2015, to dedicate the triumph.

"I know that the Senegalese people have suffered a lot but I dedicate this trophy to Aliou Cisse," Mane told reporters, having noted the criticism of the Lions of Teranga boss in the lead-up to the game. "If you knew what he did for the team."

Mane added: "When I missed the penalty first I thought of Aliou Cisse.. When I scored the last penalty, I immediately thought of Aliou Cisse."

Cisse, who was a runner-up at AFCON in 2002 during his playing days, praised the current generation headlined by Mane and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who saved Mohanad Lasheen's spotkick to set up his teammate's moment of glory.

"It really proves the mental strength of this generation," Cisse said. "We're African champions.

"It's been long, it's been hard, and there have been complicated moments, but we never gave up.

"This was a hard match too; we missed the penalty, and there were other chances we weren't able to take, but the boys never abandoned the task.

"We are very happy to dedicate the victory to the Senegalese people because from independence until now we have been chasing this first win in this competition."

Sadio Mane made up for an earlier penalty miss with the decisive spot-kick as Senegal claimed their first Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 shoot-out win over Egypt.

The Lions of Teranga were beaten in the 2019 final by Algeria, but they belatedly got their hands on the trophy at Olembe Stadium on Sunday with a dramatic shoot-out victory after a largely dour goalless 120 minutes.

Mane saw an early penalty saved by Mohamed Abou Gabal and he was fortunate to still be on the pitch for the spot-kicks having avoided a second yellow card for a clear dive.

The Liverpool forward had the last laugh, though, powering low past Abou Gabal after Edouard Mendy had kept out Mohanad Lasheen's tepid effort from 12 yards to send the travelling Senegal fans into raptures.

 

The Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday is the match that many observers had wished to see and that Jurgen Klopp had perhaps hoped to avoid.

Senegal, runners-up to Algeria two years ago, have the chance to get their hands on the trophy for the first time at Olembe Stadium. Standing in their way are Egypt, seeking a record-extending eighth African title and their first since 2010.

It will also be the much-anticipated meeting of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the Liverpool stars looking to cement their status as the finest players from the continent.

Reds manager Klopp could be forgiven for wishing both teams had been knocked out sooner so he could have Mane and Salah back on Merseyside, but he described it as a "great achievement" to see both players competing for the trophy.

"Now it's obviously not so easy because one will definitely be really happy after and the other one much less so, but both have a good chance to achieve something really big," he said.

Salah did not need to take a penalty in the semi-final shoot-out with Cameroon, who beat them in their last final appearance in 2017, as the host nation missed three kicks in a row to send the Pharoahs through.

This will be a record-equalling ninth AFCON final for Egypt and their first meeting with Senegal in this competition since the 2006 semi-finals, which they won 2-1 en route to lifting the trophy. Overall, the head-to-head record stands at two wins each.

Yet Senegal have won 11 matches over the past three AFCON tournaments, more than any other team, and kept the most clean sheets (12) in that time. That form has continued in 2022: they have won four of their six games, scoring nine times and conceding just twice, hitting three in their quarter-final and semi-final wins while Egypt have needed extra time or penalties in three straight matches.

Mane's influence has helped them become clinical: at these finals, Senegal have scored nine goals from 81 attempts, a shot conversion rate bettered only by Cameroon (11 goals from 91 shots). Egypt, with four goals from 76 efforts, have the lowest conversion rate among any of the teams to reach the knockout phase.

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz, however, is not feeling concerned.

"Words like fear have been erased from our dictionary," he said. "In our football dictionary, there is the word 'respect'. We have great respect for our opponents and their players, because they are performing well and scoring goals. But we are ready."

For Senegal counterpart Aliou Cisse, a losing finalist as a player and coach, his players' mental fortitude is the most important thing they have.

"We know it will be a very difficult final," he said. "I congratulate my players because we have come a long way. They had the right mentality. I can assure you that the best quality of a player in the national team is having the right mentality."


Players to watch

Senegal: Sadio Mane

With a goal and an assist in the semi-final win over Burkina Faso, Mane has been directly involved in nine (six scored, three assisted) of Senegal's past 14 goals at the AFCON. He will be looking to register a goal involvement in four consecutive matches in this competition for the first time.

The pressure is firmly on Mane to lead the top-ranked team in Africa to the trophy for the first time.

 

Egypt: Mohamed Salah

Salah has only scored twice at these finals, excluding the shoot-out win over Ivory Coast, but his influence extends beyond goals of his own: since his competition debut in January 2017, he has been directly involved in 68 shots at goal for Egypt (41 shots, 27 chances created). Only Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri (70 – 40 shots, 30 chances created) has been involved in more in this time.

"Salah is not only the best player in Egypt but a world-class player and his presence is a boost for the other members of the team," said Egypt assistant coach Diaa al-Sayed. "He is a guide and a leader. His presence is so crucial for us. He came here to win and we hope he will."

 

Egypt assistant coach Diaa al-Sayed has called for Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final with Senegal to be delayed by a day to give his side more rest.

Record seven-time winners Egypt beat tournament hosts Cameroon 3-1 on penalties on Thursday after neither side could find a way through in 120 goalless minutes.

Carlos Queiroz's men have been taken to a shoot-out in two of their three knockout games, with the other going into extra-time. Senegal, on the other hand, have got the job done inside regulation time on each occasion.

And with Senegal having an extra 24 hours' rest between their semi-final win against Burkina Faso and Sunday's final in Yaounde, Al-Sayed wants the game moved to Monday.

"I ask CAF that the final be played on Monday," said Al-Sayed, who was speaking to reporters after Queiroz was sent off during the Cameroon clash.

"There is one more day of recovery for Senegal."

The third-place play-off between Cameroon and Burkina Faso was due to be played on Sunday, but it has been brought forward to Saturday following talks with local government, though no explanation has been given.

Al-Sayed added: "I hope that, as we have changed the date for the third game, we will now play [the final on] Monday."

Mohamed Abou Gabal was the hero as Egypt reached the Africa Cup of Nations final at the expense of hosts Cameroon with a 3-1 success on penalties. 

After 120 minutes of scoreless action, goalkeeper Abou Gabal saved spot-kicks from Harold Moukoudi and James Lea Siliki before Clinton N'Jie completely missed the target. 

Egypt will take on Senegal in the showpiece on Sunday, though Carlos Queiroz will not be in the dugout after being sent off for two displays of dissent towards the end of normal time. 

In a low-tempo game littered with mistakes, the best chance of the first half came when Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui saw his header hit the post in the 18th minute. 

Mohamed Salah was presented with a glorious chance to open the scoring in the second half by a short back pass from Martin Hongla, but he was unable to round Andre Onana after the goalkeeper hared out of his box to intervene. 

Samuel Oum Gouet went close to scoring a goal of the tournament contender when his rasping 35-yard drive clipped the outside of the post, and Queiroz was sent off before the start of extra time. 

The additional 30 minutes were not enough to separate the sides, but Abou Gabal's heroics sent Egypt through to the final after they missed out on home soil in 2019. 

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar has not been impressed by Mohamed Salah's displays and says the forward cannot consider himself on the same level as Kylian Mbappe.

Salah has scored two and set up another in five matches in Egypt's run to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, where hosts Cameroon await in Yaounde on Thursday.

The 29-year-old has also enjoyed another prolific campaign at club level, having scored 23 goals in 26 games for Liverpool in all competitions.

That compares to 19 goals in 29 matches for Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe, who has made a slow start to 2022 with one goal in his first four appearances.

Indeed, Robert Lewandowski (34 in 28) and Karim Benzema (24 in 28) are the only players to outscore Salah among those from Europe's top five leagues this term.

However, speaking ahead of Thursday's meeting between Cameroon and Egypt, Aboubakar insists Salah is not currently on the same level as Mbappe.

"He is having a great season in the Premier League and is helping his country to advance in the competition. I wish him a lot of luck. May the best win," Aboubakar told RFI.

"He doesn't impress me much. I say it clearly because I'm an honest person and I have my way of seeing things.

"If he impressed me, I would say so. But he doesn't impress me much. He's a good player, he scores a lot but he doesn't produce a lot of stuff in the game.

"Of course, he's doing good stuff in the Premier League because he's been in a team that's been there for years. He's a good player but not at the level of some like Mbappe."

After scoring and assisting in the 2-1 quarter-final win against Morocco, Salah has been involved in 62 per cent of Egypt's AFCON goals since his competition debut in 2017 (8/13).

He trails Aboubakar in the race to be crowned the delayed 2021 edition's top scorer, though, with the Cameroon skipper leading the charts thanks to his six goals.

That is one goal more than team-mate Karl Toko Ekambi, with the pair responsible for all 11 of the hosts' goals up to this point.

Asked about his blossoming partnership with Toko Ekambi, Aboubakar said: "We are complementary to each other, but the most important thing is for the team to win.

"If me, Karl or any other player manages to score and Cameroon win, that's the most important thing. We must raise Cameroon to the top in this competition."

Two of African football's most renowned nations go up against each other in the second Africa Cup of Nations semi-final, with hosts Cameroon and Egypt set to clash.

This will be their 11th AFCON meeting, with no two teams facing each other more often in the competition's history, but there will be as much – if not more – attention on what occurs away from the pitch on Thursday.

It will be the first match to be played at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde since January 24, when eight people died and 38 were injured in a crush prior to Cameroon's defeat of Comoros.

Cameroon great Samuel Eto'o, now president of the nation's football federation, has already landed himself in hot water for appearing to attempt to motivate the Indomitable Lions by suggesting they need to approach the match like "a war".

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz strongly voiced his disapproval during a news conference, saying: "It is a very bad message to the people of Cameroon. I think he forgot that Cameroonian people died at the stadium a couple of days ago. To make this declaration of war before a game, I think he has learned nothing from being in professional football."

On the pitch, the omens appear to be against Cameroon.

No team have got beyond the semi-finals as a host nation since Egypt in 2006, with the Pharaohs going on to win the tournament – they repeated the feat in each of the next two editions.

Nevertheless, Cameroon's own semi-final record is good, progressing from seven of their previous nine such matches.

Either way, a giant of African football will be eliminated on Thursday.

Player to watch: Moumi Ngamaleu (Cameroon)

Most eyes will be on Mohamed Salah and Vincent Aboubakar, given they have been involved in more AFCON goals (nine) since 2017 than any other player, but in Ngamaleu, Cameroon have one of this edition's most threatening players.

The Young Boys winger is a real live wire out wide, but he also has significant capabilities in terms of his service.

Ngamaleu's nine chances created are the joint-most in the Cameroon squad, and he ranks much higher than anyone else in the tournament for expected assists (2.25). That gives those nine key passes an xA average of 0.25, which again makes him the most consistently threatening creator in the competition (minimum four chances created).

 

Mohamed Salah inspired a turnaround to send Egypt into the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Morocco.

Egypt, looking to extend their record with an eighth AFCON title and their first since 2010, fell behind in the sixth minute through Sofiane Boufal's penalty.

That came following a lengthy VAR review after Ayman Ashraf had brought down Achraf Hakimi just inside the right-hand side of the box.

Egypt dominated possession in the first half but their response did not come until eight minutes into the second, Salah tapping in on the rebound after Yassine Bounou had repelled Mohamed Abdelmonem's flying header.

The Pharaohs needed a superb save from Mohamed Abou Gabal, who was later substituted because of an injury, to keep them in the tournament nine minutes from the end of normal time when he turned Nayef Aguerd's header onto the crossbar.

Morocco's failure to take that chance was punished in the 10th minute of extra time, Salah darting past Aguerd down the right flank and laying on a perfect cross for Trezeguet to dispatch a simple finish with Bounou stricken.

Egypt will now face hosts Cameroon in the last four on Thursday.

The Africa Cup of Nations is heating up in the quarter-final stage, with Sunday's encounters two of the more fascinating of the round on paper.

After edging past the Ivory Coast in the round of 16 on penalties, Egypt take on Morocco where two stars of world football, Mohamed Salah and Achraf Hakimi, go head-to-head.

Senegal will play Equatorial Guinea for just the second time at the AFCON, with the latter winning the previous such game 2-1 in the group stages in 2012.

Stats Perform takes a look at both games as we get closer to the business end of this year's tournament.

 

Egypt v Morocco (15:00 GMT)

This will be the seventh AFCON encounter between these teams, with Morocco winning three of the previous six (D1 L2), although Egypt won the most recent encounter in the 2017 quarter-finals.

The Pharaohs have won each of their past four quarter-final matches at the AFCON, having progressed in just one of their previous five.

Morocco have won six of their past eight matches in this competition (D2), scoring in every game in this run, although they are looking to reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since finishing runners-up to Tunisia in 2004.

There have been a number of tight games at this year's tournament and that may be the case again here. Egypt have only conceded seven goals in their 20 games at the AFCON since 2010 (W14 D3 L3), keeping 14 clean sheets.

Morocco's Romain Saiss has accumulated an expected goals (xG) tally of 1.99 from his five attempts in the competition, the highest xG of any player who is yet to score this year.

One to watch: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

The Paris Saint-Germain right-back had been having a relatively quiet AFCON up until the knockout stages, only to put in a top-quality performance to help his nation topple Malawi in the round of 16.

His excellent free-kick in the 2-1 win was just one of his five attempts at goal, four of which were on target. Hakimi had only taken three shots in total in his three group stage appearances. His partnership with Imran Louza – who made five key passes against Malawi, more than anyone else – on the right could be vital, with Salah likely occupying their team-mates on the other side.

 

Senegal v Equatorial Guinea (19:00 GMT)

It was a horrible sight to see Sadio Mane crash to the floor after a head collision with Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha in their round-of-16 tie, despite picking himself up to score the winner moments later.

Whether the Liverpool man is fit to play remains to be seen, but it could be crucial as he has scored 44 per cent of Senegal's goals (seven of 16, excluding own goals) at the AFCON since 2017, while none of his team-mates have scored more than once in this time.

Senegal have progressed from three of their past five quarter-final matches at the AFCON, while they are looking to reach the semi-finals in consecutive tournaments for the first time.

Equatorial Guinea have lost just one of their most recent five AFCON games (W2 D2), keeping four clean sheets and conceding just once.

Since the start of the 2017 tournament, Senegal have won more games (nine) and kept more clean sheets (12) than any other team.

One to watch: Saul Coco (Equatorial Guinea)

The Las Palmas defender was a rock at the back for his country in the round-of-16 clash with Mali, making seven clearances, more than twice as many as any of his team-mates, as well as three blocks. He also scored his penalty in the shoot-out and may need that calm temperament when facing Senegal's pacey attack.

He is also part of an Equatorial Guinea defence that has conceded just once in the tournament, despite facing an overall xG of 4.2.

 

Eric Bailly missed from the spot as Egypt progressed to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations by knocking out Ivory Coast on penalties.

The most frequently contested match in the tournament's history – this was the 11th time these sides have met – was decided when Mohamed Salah swept home to secure a 5-4 win in the shoot-out after 120 goalless minutes in Douala.

In a tight first 90 minutes of few chances, arguably the best fell to Amr El Soleya, who blasted over after being teed up in space by Salah.

Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy tipped over a Sebastien Haller header before keeping out a Wilfried Zaha effort, but he was replaced with two minutes of normal time left due to injury.

A bright start from Egypt to extra time saw El Soleya presented with another chance, the Al Ahly midfielder unable to keep his awkward header down from six yards out.

A speculative Ibrahim Sangare strike was well saved by Mohamed Abou Gabal, and Simon Deli got in front of the replacement goalkeeper from the resulting corner only to head over.

Salah's cut-back set up Trezeguet with practically the final kick of extra time, but the Aston Villa man shot straight at Badra Ali Sangare from six yards.

The opening four penalties of the shoot-out were scored before 'Gabaski' clawed Bailly's effort onto the crossbar, the Manchester United defender's run-up not fooling the keeper.

Zaha swept home to put the pressure on Salah, who found the bottom-right corner to set up a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

Ivory Coast and Egypt will contest arguably the tie of the round on Wednesday as the two giants hope to book their passage to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Carlos Queiroz's Pharaohs failed to impress during the group stage, ultimately reaching the knockouts thanks to 1-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, teams many would expect them to beat comfortably.

They got the job done but now come up against one of the more eye-catching teams from the first round in Ivory Coast, who rounded off the group stage with a 3-1 win over defending champions Algeria.

In Wednesday's other last-16 contest, and the final game of the round, surprise package Equatorial Guinea will hope to continue their promising campaign against Mali, who will be firm favourites.

Ivory Coast v Egypt (16:00 GMT)

Mohamed Salah and Egypt have struggled to rise to the occasion so far in Cameroon – if they cannot get themselves up for this, they will surely be heading home.

This will be the 11th AFCON meeting between these two sides, making it the competition's most-played fixture, and Egypt boast a good record against the Elephants in knockout games.

Ivory Coast have not been successful in any of the previous four elimination clashes – the two most recent were in the 2006 final when Egypt won on penalties, and the semi-final two years later as they ran out 4-1 winners.

As such, Ivory Coast will surely feel they have a score to settle, and Egypt's record of losing each of their past two AFCON knockout matches should give them some optimism.

One to watch: Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

He may be struggling to get a look-in at club level with Arsenal, but Pepe is undoubtedly key for the Elephants. Only Algeria's Youcef Belaili (24) was directly involved in more shots than him in the group stage (19 – 12 shots, seven chances created), while the former Lille winger has been directly involved in more goals than any other Ivory Coast player in the tournament so far (three – two goals, one assist).

 

Mali v Equatorial Guinea (19:00)

Mali may have come through the group stage unbeaten, but Equatorial Guinea will not be writing themselves off producing a shock here.

After all, Les Aigles have had to largely rely on penalties to get their goals, highlighting that their route to this stage has not been entirely emphatic, while Equatorial Guinea have overcome greater odds.

In their previous four AFCON knockout games, they have progressed twice – both of those came in 2015, when they caused upsets by getting past Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This edition of the tournament has seen its fair share of shocks already. Could Mali be the latest to be guilty of complacency?

One to watch: Adama Noss Traore (Mali)

As mentioned, Mali have almost entirely got by on penalties, with three of their four goals coming via Ibrahima Kone's spot-kicks. That meant they scored just once from 27 open play shots in the group stage, yet their non-penalty expected goals (xG) of 3.6 suggests chance creation was not the issue. Traore was their most effective player in that respect with his set-piece deliveries, tallying a squad-high key passes.

 

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