AFCON Group Stage Matchday 3 Review

24/01/2024 | ,

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was entering its final group stage matches. With all teams having played twice, only two had secured spots in the knockout stages. Surprisingly, powerhouse teams like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia as well as Zambia found themselves outside the top two positions. As only the top two from each group and the four best third-placed teams advance to the last 16, there was a lot of pressure on many teams on the final matchday.

AFCON Group Stage Matchday 3 Review

Below we give you an overview about all 12 games of Matchday 3 of the AFCON Group Stage. As you might know Ghana is unfortunately out of the tournament again after the group stage. Even so the Black Stars were twice in the lead they couldn’t secure victory. The draw against Mozambique just wasn’t enough for Ghana to qualify for the Knockout Stage.

Before kick-off on the last matchday there were the following standings:

Qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations Last 16:

  • Cape Verde
  • Senegal

Teams with a guaranteed top-three finish:

The below teams will finish at least third in their group which doesn’t yet mean they advance to the knockout stage. However, they had a really good chance:

  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Nigeria
  • Ivory Coast
  • Guinea
  • Angola
  • Burkina Faso
  • Mali
  • Morocco

Already eliminated team:

Ahead of the last matchday Guinea-Bissau’s AFCON campaign is already over.

Group Stage Matchday 3 Results

Let’s look at the games of Matchday 3 and the final standings after in a bit more detail.

Group A

  • Guinea Bissau 0 – 1 Nigeria
  • Equatorial Guinea 4 – 0 Ivory Coast
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Equatorial Guinea stunned the Ivory Coast with a 4-0 victory. This secured them the top spot in Group A. Moreover, Emilio Nsue’s two goals propelled him to the top scorer at the tournament. The performance of the Ivory Coast can only be described as disappointing, considering their potential to compete for the tournament title. Despite the heavy defeat, Ivory Coast qualified for the knockout rounds with a little help by Morocco.

Nigeria secured the second position after a narrow victory over Guinea Bissau, courtesy of an own goal. Overall the team didn’t yet show their full potential.

Group B Matchday 3 Results

  • Cape Verde 2 – 2 Egypt
  • Mozambique 2 – 2 Ghana
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Ghana’s woes continued as, for the third consecutive major tournament, they fell short of advancing past the group stage. Their on-field performance appeared disjointed, plagued by persistent issues in both offensive and defensive aspects. Despite these challenges, they seemed poised for a knockout berth until a last-minute collapse against Mozambique dashed their hopes, squandering a two-goal lead.

In contrast, Cape Verde emerged as well-deserved group winners. The team had already secured a spot in the AFCON Knockout Stage ahead of Matchday 3. Their impressive performance showcased their growing prowess at AFCON, highlighted by leading against Egypt and securing a dramatic last-gasp equaliser.

Egypt, facing the tournament without the injured Mohamed Salah, managed to secure a second-place finish with three points. Although they did not win any games, their point tally surpassed that of Ghana.

Group C

  • Gambia 2 – 3 Cameroon
  • Guinea 0 – 2 Senegal

In Group C, defending champions Senegal made a resounding statement by winning all three group matches. They scored eight goals and conceding just one. Aliou Cisse maintained the core of the title-winning team, introducing only a few changes. Notably, the addition of 20-year-old midfield prodigy Lamine Camara proved to be a key move, as he made a lasting impression in his two starts. This means that Senegal is the only team to complete the AFCON group stage with a flawless 100% record. Even so Guinea lost this game they still advance to the knockout stage as best third-place team.

Cameroon also secured a spot in the AFCON Knockout Stage on Matchday 3. Despite their talented squad they failed to secure victories in their initial two matches. Therefore they seemed destined for an early exit in their final match against Gambia. However, two extremely late goals salvaged the tournament for them, providing a lifeline to advance to the next stage.

Group D

  • Mauritania 1 – 0 Algeria
  • Angola 2 – 0 Burkina Faso
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Angola surprised everyone by clinching the top spot in their group after a 2-0 victory over Burkina Faso. Mabululu’s first-half header and a stoppage-time goal from substitute Zini sealed the unexpected triumph for Angola, while Burkina Faso settled for second place.

Despite Burkina Faso’s second-place finish, it shouldn’t be deemed a major surprise considering their recent success in knockout stages, indicating their capability to potentially cause upsets.

Djamel Belmadi faced immense pressure following Algeria’s disappointment in the 2021 group stage exit and their failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. However, the top-seeded Algeria team made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the group, suffering a shocking loss to Mauritania and ultimately finishing last in their group. Mauritania on the other hand celebrated their first-ever AFCON win after nine attempt. Through their overall determined performance they deserve to move to the knockout stage as third-best third-placed team.

Group E

  • Namibia 0 – 0 Mali
  • South Africa 0 – 0 Tunisia
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Compared to the other AFCON groups Matchday 3 for Group E was quite boring as it presented the first instances of goalless draws in the tournament.

Mali secured the top position while South Africa claimed the second spot. Namibia advances to the knockout phase for the first time in their history. With their initial victory over Tunisia in their opening group game, marking their inaugural win at the tournament in their fourth appearance, the team paved the way for their debut in the knockout stage.

Group F

  • Zambia 0 – 1 Morocco
  • Tanzania 0 – 0 DR Congo
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As expected Morocco secured the top spot in the group by defeating Zambia with a first-half goal from Hakim Ziyech. All eyes in the Ivory Coast were on this Matchday 3 Group F AFCON groups stage match as Zambia was the last team standing between the hosts and a coveted knockout. A draw, similar to their results in the first two games, would have been enough for Zambia. However, Zambia lost against Morocco and hence missed the opportunity to advance. While Zambia is out, host Ivory Coast moves to the knockout stage. Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo finished second after a goalless draw against Tanzania.

Final Round of 16 Qualification after Matchday 3

The group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 delivered 36 intense matches that were overall filled with drama, surprises, and exceptional football. Fans got treated with a goal fest, with a total of 89 goals scored across all 36 game. That is to say, the entertainment value was high and definitely showcasing the best of African football. However, the tournament was not only about goals but also marked by the departure of five coaches. Chris Hughton and Jean-Louis Gasset were dismissed from Ghana and Ivory Coast, while Tam Sainfiet, Djamel Belmadi, and Jalel Kadri resigned from The Gambia, Algeria, and Tunisia, respectively.

With the end of the group stage, the focus now shifts to the knockout rounds where we expect more thrilling encounters. Standout fixtures include Senegal vs. Ivory Coast, Nigeria vs Cameroon and furthermore Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea. The group stage set overall a high standard and we all eagerly anticipate more exhilarating football in the Round of 16.

While Ghana’s ACON 2023 campaign has ended on Matchday 3 with another disappointing group stage exit, the rewards and special AFCON promotions are still waiting for you at PrideBet Ghana. So head on over to and see what the team has in store for you. Place your bets on all the upcoming AFCON fixtures and furthermore join great prize draws. From a brand-new TV to jerseys there are a lot of prizes up for grabs.

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