AFCON 2024 Matchday 7 roundup: Senegal deepen Onana misery, Cape Verde seal top spot

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) has seen a lot of goals, and matchday seven did not disappoint with its line-up of games.

One Group B game and two from Group C were on the menu, with the three matches producing a combined eight goals on the day.

There was also drama and affirmation of dominance, as one of the minnows of the tournament and one of the favourites made statements with their strong performances.

Here’s a quick recap of the major happenings on matchday seven in Ivory Coast:

Friday’s AFCON 2024 talking points

Senegal school Onana and Cameroon

Senegal sent a message to their rivals that they meant business when they comfortably dispatched Gambia in their opening game, and they were once again in ruthless form against Cameroon.

The defending champions produced yet another impressive performance, with goals from Ismaila Sarr, Habib Diallo and Sadio Mane helping them to a 3-1 win over the Indomitable Lions.

The subplot was Andre Onana’s return to goal after missing Cameroon’s first game against Guinea. The Manchester United goalkeeper, who arrived late to AFCON 2024 due to club commitments, was powerless to stop Senegal’s red-hot attack as he conceded three times to continue his miserable run of form.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Cape Verde secure Group B top spot

Cape Verde already shocked the world when they upset Ghana by beating the Black Stars 2-1 in their opening game of AFCON 2024.

Now, the Island nation has outdone itself by securing the top spot in Group B following their commanding 3-0 thrashing of Mozambique.

Bebe and his teammates are now guaranteed to finish above both Egypt and Ghana, irrespective of the result of their final group game against the Pharaohs after picking up six points from two games so far.

The feat chalked by Cape Verde is one of the shocking turns of events at AFCON 2024, and it remains to be seen how far they’ll go in the tournament after booking their place in the last 16 with a game to spare.

Guinea leapfrog Cameroon with first victory

Group C also looks set to be one of the keenest after Guinea coasted to a narrow 1-0 win over Gambia. Aguibou Camara’s second-half strike was all that the Syli National needed to bag their first win of AFCON 2024.

The victory also saw them leapfrog Cameroon into second place, and the four points they’ve garnered so far mean they now stand a good chance of advancing to the next round.

Having impressively held Cameroon to a 1-1 draw despite playing much of the game with a man down, Guinea will now head into their final group game with hopes of upsetting defending champions Senegal, with a chance of finishing as group winners up for grabs.

Play of the day

Our play of the day belongs to Cape Verde goalkeeper Josimar Dias, who certainly enjoyed himself against Mozambique.

Dias showed nerves of steel when he dribbled his way out of trouble while under pressure from an opponent in the penalty box. His confidence in even attempting to dribble in front of his goal captured the attention of the fans who watched his country’s important victory over Mozambique.

What’s next at AFCON 2024?

Matchday eight will kick off on Saturday, 20 January, with some mouthwatering fixtures from Groups D and E. Algeria will take on Burkina Faso in one of the most anticipated games, while Mauritania and Angola will wrap up Group D’s second round of matches.

Tunisia and Mali will close the day with what is expected to be an entertaining encounter in Group E.

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.