Football Features

Magic Madagascar and sensational Salah: The story of Afcon 2019 so far

By CJ Smith

Published: 11:37, 5 July 2019 | Updated: 8:14, 8 July 2019

The group stages of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations are now at an end with the round-of-16 set in stone.

In the searing heat of the Egyptian sun, favourites have graced through and struggled in equal measure, while minnows have shocked or sunk at various points as well.

Not sure where we’re up to with the tournament so far? No matter, Squawka has rounded everything up for you right here.

Who has made it to the round-of-16?

Group A

Hosts Egypt have been one of the most convincing sides so far, winning all three of their group games without conceding a goal. This sees them safely through to the round-of-16 as group winners alongside runners-up Uganda and third-placed DR Congo. Zimbabwe crash out with just one point.

Group B

Group B was a little less straightforward, with Madagascar pulling off a shock 2-0 win over Nigeria to finish first with seven points. The Super Eagles were just behind them on six points, while Guinea finished third but qualify with four points. Burundi go home having failed to register a single goal or point.

Group C

Algeria were the dominant force in Group C, picking up nine points and keeping clean sheets in each of their three games. A tough group saw Senegal finish second on six points, while a solitary 3-2 win over Tanzania – who didn’t earn a single point – was not enough to send Kenya through as one of the best third-placed teams.

Group D

Although they were a little more workmanlike than Algeria, Morocco also head through to the round-of-16, topping Group D with three 1-0 wins. Fellow African giants Ivory Coast finished second with six points, while South Africa’s 1-0 win over Namibia was enough to set them up with a tie against hosts Egypt in the next round.

Group E

Group E was wide open heading into the final matchday but Mali’s 1-0 win over Angola was enough to put them top with seven points, four clear of second-placed Tunisa. The Eagles of Carthage could only manage a 0-0 draw against minnows Mauritania in their final group match but it proved enough in the end. Angola and Mauritania head home.

Group F

And finally, Group F. Another incredibly tight group saw Ghana and Cameroon both head through on just five points. Benin’s draw 0-0 with the Indomitable Lions in the final group game saw them through as one of the best third-placed teams having drawn all of their matches so far. Guinea-Bissau go out with just one point and no goals scored.

Who have been the standout performers?

Egypt have cruised through the group stage with Mohamed Salah and Trezeguet causing havoc. The pair have managed three goals between them so far, while Trezeguet assisted Salah’s goal in Egypt’s 2-0 win over DR Congo and has completed more successful dribbles (12) than any player at the tournament so far.

In-demand Rennes winger Ismaila Sarr has completed the second-highest number of dribbles (11) despite sitting out Senegal’s 1-0 defeat to Algeria, and also bagged the opening goal in their 3-0 win over Kenya in the final group game. All the signs point to him being absolutely vital in the knockout rounds.

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And, of course, we couldn’t finish this section without mentioning Madagascar. Spearheaded by the brilliant Carolus Andriamatsinoro – who has two goals and one assist so far – Barea took four points from their first two games, against Guinea and Burundi. Everyone expected them to crash against Nigeria – one of the pre-tournament favourites – but instead, shocked the Super Eagles 2-0 to top a highly competitive Group B and are yet to suffer a defeat. A quite incredible achievement in what is their first-ever Afcon participation.

Who has flopped?

Despite their billing as two of the pre-tournament favourites, Ghana and Cameroon both disappointed in Group F, taking just five points each and scoring a combined six goals.

M’Baye Niang has taken the second-highest number of shots (12) at the tournament so far – including 10 inside the area – but is yet to score a single goal and was particularly wasteful in Senegal’s opening 2-0 win over Tanzania, missing with eight shots.

Burundi and Guinea-Bissau are the only two teams to leave Egypt without scoring a goal, while Group C minnows Tanzania lost all three of their group games, conceding the highest number of goals (8).

Full Afcon 2019 round-of-16 draw

July 5

Morocco v Benin

Uganda v Senegal

July 6

Nigeria v Cameroon

Egypt v South Africa

July 7

Madagascar v DR Congo

Algeria v Guinea

July 8

Mali v Ivory Coast

Ghana v Tunisia