AFCON 2024 Matchday 11 roundup: Historic run for Mauritania, perfect record for defending champions

Matchday 11 of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) was not without drama, as the teams in Groups C and D closed out their group stage campaigns.

Here's a recap of Tuesday's games:

Tuesday's AFCON 2024 talking points

AFCON 2024 Matchday 11 roundup
Aboubakary Koita and Sidi Ahmed Mohamed of Mauritania celebrate victory during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations match between Mauritania and Algeria held at Peace Stadium in Bouake, Cote dIvoire on 23 January 2024 Djaffar Ladjal/Sports Inc – Photo by Icon Sport

Cameroon clinch Round of 16 spot in five-goal thriller

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon squared off against Gambia in their final group game, with both teams hoping to book a spot in the knockout stages.

Although there were no goals scored at the half-time break, the floodgates opened in the second half, with both teams getting on the scoresheet at least two times.

As a matter of fact, Gambia vs Cameroon could've been a six-goal thriller, but the Gambians saw their last goal cancelled due to a handball.

The Indomitable Lions will go through to the Round of 16, where they'll face Nigeria's Super Eagles.

Business as usual for Senegal

It's fair to point out that defending champions have struggled at this tournament since 2010, as no team has defended their title since then.

In fact, no AFCON champion advanced to the semi-finals of the next edition since 2010. This doesn't seem to be the case with Senegal however, as they were the only team to win all three games in AFCON 2024.

Aliou Cisse's men defeated the Syli National of Guinea by two unreplied goals, claiming the top spot in Group C.

Senegal will face one of the third-placed teams in the Round of 16, while Guinea will meet Group A leaders Equatorial Guinea.

Angolans extend unbeaten run

Angola and Burkina Faso met in a top-of-the-table clash on Tuesday. Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages, so they were on a quest to claim the top spot in Group D.

Interestingly, it was the Angolans who emerged victorious by two unreplied goals. They'll meet one of the third-placed teams in the next round.

Meanwhile Burkina Faso finished in second-place, they'll meet the Group E leaders in the last 16.

Mauritania reach knockout stages for the first time in history

In what was unarguably the most surprising result of the day, Mauritania defeated two-time champions Algeria.

The Lions of Chinguetti had never played at the AFCON until 2019; and although they've qualified for this tournament for the third time since then, they had never made it past the group stages, nor won a game.

Taking into account that Mauritania had never beaten Algeria, it wasn't really a surprise that Amir Abdou's men were the overwhelming underdogs.

However, a first half goal from Mohamed Dellahi Yali was enough to secure Mauritania's first win, and their first trip to the knockout stages. They'll meet Cape Verde in the Round of 16.

On the other hand, Algeria have been eliminated from the group stages in back-to-back tournaments since they won the AFCON in 2019.

Play of the day

Our play of the day is centred on Ablie Jallow's left-footed volley for the Gambia against Cameroon. View the goal around the one-minute mark in the video below

What's next?

The group stages will officially come to an end on Wednesday, as teams in Groups E and F will play their final group games.

Namibia will take on Mali, while South Africa's Bafana Bafana will clash with Tunisia in Group E. Both matches will be played by 6 pm WAT.

Meanwhile Tanzania vs DR Congo and Zambia vs Morocco will be the games from Group F. Both matches kick-off at 9 pm WAT.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.