Neither Sadio Mane’s Senegal or Naby Keita’s Guinea managed to impress in the three matches of the African Cup of Nations group stage matches. However, despite that, both teams managed to sneak through to the knockout stages.
Senegal topped the group with five points after another scoreless draw on Tuesday, this time against Malawi. Mane played all 90 minutes but couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the net. After the three matches, the only goal scored by the heavily-favored Senegal was Mane’s last gasp penalty in their opening game against Zimbabwe.
Guinea lost Tuesday’s final group stage match against Zimbabwe. Keita played the whole game and did manage to score in the 49th minute — though by that time they were already trailing by two goals. The match ended at 2-1, leaving Guinea tied with Malawi on four points.
The tiebreaker is a head-to-head competition. Since Guinea won that game, they got the second placed ranking in Group B, which meant automatic advancement to the Round of 16.
Mohamed Salah’s Egypt are set to play their final group match against Sudan on Wednesday. Egypt is in second place in Group D behind Nigeria, so they will be pushing hard for a second victory to secure advancement.