AFCON 2022: What to know ahead of quarterfinals, featuring Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt and Morocco

The business stage of the Africa Cup of Nations is well and truly underway with this weekend bringing the competition’s quarterfinals. Tournament favorites Nigeria and Ivory Coast fell by the wayside in the last 16 leaving a remaining group of teams rich in narrative and excitement.

Will the pressure grow too intense for home favorites Cameroon? Can the collective spirit of Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea take them even further? Are Egypt ever going to be involved in a game where more than two goals are scored? Here is everything you need to know ahead of the quarterfinals.

Gambia vs. Cameroon

Date: Saturday, Jan. 29 | Time: 11 a.m. ET
Location: Japoma Stadium — Douala, Cameroon
TV: beIN Sports Xtra | Live stream: fuboTV — Try for free
Odds: Gambia +700; Draw +225; Cameroon -182 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

The hosts may just have been the most impressive team of the tournament so far with captain Vincent Aboubakar leading the way with six of the competition-leading nine goals they have scored. Close behind the skipper on the scoring charts is Lyon’s Karl Toko-Ekambi and the pair have formed an impressive partnership that can largely create for itself with one willing to run the channels while the other occupies defenders in the box.

Expectations will be running high for the hosts and that could prompt more of the sloppy errors that handed Comoros a way back into the match late on in the round of 16 tie. Gambia’s Musa Barrow is as well placed as anyone at the tournament to punish lax defending.

Burkina Faso vs. Tunisia

Date: Saturday, Jan. 29 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Roumde Adjia Stadium — Garoua, Cameroon
TV: beIN Sports Xtra | Live stream: fuboTV — Try for free
Odds: Burkina Faso +240; Draw +170; Tunisia +140 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Few would have expected Tunisia to make it past frontrunners Nigeria in the round of 16, particularly as they snuck through on the back of a thumping of minnows Mauritania. That aside they have only netted one goal at the tournament and that was when Alex Iwobi handed them a man advantage; Mondher Kebaier’s side are taking shots but not really dominating games.

Of course, the same could be said of Burkina Faso, who have scored just once in each of their matches so far in the competition. If they are to overcome Tunisia then Gustavo Sangare may need to excel for the Stallions, though Aston Villa’s Bertrand Traore and Hassan Bande of Istra 1961 are dangermen upfront.

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Egypt vs. Morocco

Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 10 a.m. ET
Location: Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium — Yaounde, Cameroon
TV: beIN Sports Xtra | Live stream: fuboTV — Try for free
Odds: Egypt +225; Draw +175; Morocco +145 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

The Pharaohs are nothing if not a Carlos Quieroz side; it may not have been remotely easy on the eye but Egypt are through to the quarterfinals despite not possessing a vintage squad and without Mohamed Salah having really burst into life in this tournament. If that does happen then AFCON might turn on its head.

Morocco have also not caught fire but they have also made their way to the last eight through one of the competition’s toughest fixture lists, overcoming a group of Ghana, Gabon and an extremely competitive Comoros before Achraf Hakimi’s wonderful free-kick helped them overturn an early deficit against Malawi. Egypt may have this game’s best individual but in the PSG right back, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal and Sofyan Amrabat among others it may be the Atlas Lions who have the better team.

Senegal vs. Equatorial Guinea

Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium — Yaounde, Cameroon
TV: beIN Sports Xtra | Live stream: fuboTV — Try for free
Odds: Senegal -182; Draw +230; Equatorial Guinea +650 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

The results look perfectly acceptable but Senegal really are not impressing on their route through AFCON so far; even a 2-0 win over Cape Verde seemed underwhelming as they struggled to overcome nine men. Still, the defense of Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo is holding together nicely, meaning that Edouard Mendy has not been particularly tested so far in the tournament.

Equatorial Guinea don’t profile as the sort of team to really test Mendy and company, no team left in the competition averages fewer shots on target per game than their 3.3. At the other end, Saul Coco excelled in keeping Mali at bay in the round of 16, but the Las Palmas defender will have an even greater task ahead of him this time out.

Prediction

A tournament that has provided so many upsets so far certainly could have more life left in it, particularly in its final match with the favorites having underwhelmed so far. Senegal seem most likely to self destruct but still merit favorite status against Equatorial Guinea. They may just find themselves up against Burkina Faso, whose forward line of Bande and Traore have been putting up solid expected goals returns.

Cameroon seem the surest bet to reach the semifinals while Morocco might just have the all around quality to wear Egypt down.



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