Ivory Coast head coach Fae Emerse has urged his players not to get carried away following their 5-4 penalty shootout victory against Senegal to reach the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.
In front of a raucous home crowd at the Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, Senegal made a blistering start and took the lead just four minutes in. A superb cross from Sadio Mane found Habib Diallo, who calmly chested the ball down before firing a rocket into the top corner.
Stunned by conceding so early, the hosts gradually grew into the game with neat interplay in midfield between Franck Kessie and Jean Michael Seri. The game turned on a pivotal 86th-minute moment. Pepe burst into the box and was clumsily brought down by Edouard Mendy.
After VAR reviewed the incident, Franck Kessie coolly sent Mendy the wrong way from the spot to equalise and send the home crowd into ecstasy. In the shootout, each side netted their first four penalties but when Kalifa Coulibaly’s effort came off the upright, Kessie stepped up to smash home the winning kick, capping a remarkable turnaround for the hosts.
“Me, since last Monday and the defeat against Equatorial Guinea 4-0, I have been taking the matches one after the other, and today, yes, we beat Senegal,” said Emerse after the game.
“Finally, we eliminated Senegal, we found a state of mind, that’s a good thing, but we’re definitely not going to get excited. We have come so far that we are not going to get excited, we are going to continue to work, continue to work on our solidity, keep this state of mind which will give us the strength to perhaps go for the title.
“But for the moment, we are focusing on the quarter-final, tomorrow we will calmly look at who our opponent will be, and we will take the matches one after the other.”