Africa Cup of Nations: What to look out for on day 21 in Egypt

William Troost-Ekong
William Troost-Ekong gave Nigeria a late win over South Africa
2019 Africa Cup of Nations
Host nation: Egypt Dates: 21 June - 19 July 2019
Coverage: Text commentary and selected match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Nigeria finished day 20 of the Africa Cup of Nations with a dramatic 2-1 quarter-final win over South Africa.

William Troost-Ekong's late goal took them into the semi-finals after South Africa scored the first VAR goal in Afcon history. Senegal reached the last four earlier in the day with a more routine 1-0 win over Benin.

With four teams battling for the remaining two semi-final places, here is what to look out for on day 21 in Egypt.

Who's playing?

Ivory Coast have yet to fire on all cylinders at this Africa Cup of Nations yet find themselves one win away from a third semi-final appearance in the past five editions.

They face an Algeria team in Suez (17:00 BST) that have won all four games, scored nine goals and are yet to concede.

The fourth and final quarter-final is between debutants Madagascar and Tunisia (20:00) in Cairo.

Because they were ranked among the six worst teams on the continent, Madagascar took part in the very first match of this 2019 Nations Cup campaign - in the preliminary round of qualifying, against Sao Tome e Principe in early 2017.

If they pull off another shock like they did to knock out DR Congo in the last 16, the Indian Ocean islanders will be one win from the final.

Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals

  • Senegal 1-0 Benin
  • Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
  • Ivory Coast v Algeria - Thursday, Suez
  • Madagascar v Tunisia - Thursday, Cairo

Players to watch

Madagascar v Tunisia

Ibrahim Amada, centre, has played his club football in Algeria since 2011
Ibrahim Amada, centre, has played his club football in Algeria since 2011
Ibrahim Amada
National team: Madagascar Position: Midfielder Club: MC Alger (Algeria) Age: 29

Having scored a wonderful goal to help eliminate DR Congo in the previous round, Ibrahim Amada will be hoping for a repeat when minnows Madagascar look to cause another huge upset.

In one of the most remarkable stories in the competition's history, Madagascar have defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals, with Amada's opening goal in the last game a spectacular 25-yard strike that tailed away from the keeper and flew in off the post.

Will Madagascar's fairytale run continue?

Ivory Coast v Algeria

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez won the Confederation of African Football's player of the year award in 2016 after helping Leicester City win the Premier League
Riyad Mahrez
National team: Algeria Position: Forward Club: Manchester City Age: 28

Algeria have been ruthless at this tournament with captain Riyad Mahrez helping himself to a couple of goals along the way.

Mahrez is enjoying himself in Egypt and, with the hosts gone and holders Cameroon out, Algeria are among the favourites to win the tournament.

What are the big stories of the day?

All eyes are on Madagascar as they look to cause another major upset having already defeated three-time winners Nigeria and DR Congo, the Africa Cup of Nations winners in 1968 and 1974.

Standing in their way of a place in the semi-finals are Tunisia, who have yet to win a game at this tournament in normal time after drawing all three group games before requiring penalties to see off Ghana in the previous round.

"When we came here at the beginning of the tournament, nobody took us seriously but we believed in ourselves," said Madagascar midfielder Anicet Abel.

"Of course, they under-estimated us and I understand them. Madagascar is not famous in football, I think Madagascar is only famous for the movie."

Madagascar's romantic run has caused such joy in the country that President Andry Rajoelina chartered a plane to take himself and supporters to the match against DR Congo on Sunday, which the minnows won on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

Ivory Coast captain Serge Aurier hopes his country can see off in-form Algeria and progress without him after he hurt his right hand while banging a table to encourage his team-mates.

The Tottenham defender sat out Monday's 1-0 win over Mali in the last 16 with a damaged ankle, but left the stadium with his hand in a splint.

"I hit the table," said Aurier, detailing a fist-pumping and table-thumping half-time pep talk.

"When you are at home and things are going wrong, our parents shouted at us. It was the same thing.

"We said a few truths to each other. Sometimes it feels good and I think the group needed it."

As It Stood


3DR Congo31024403






2Ivory Coast32015236
3South Africa310212-13




View full Africa Cup of Nations tables

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