Guinea Secures Quarter-Final Berth in Africa Cup of Nations with a 98th-Minute Header by Mohamed Bayo, Clinching Victory Against 10-Man Equatorial Guinea, Who Previously Missed a Penalty.
Equatorial Guinea’s midfielder Federico Bikoro received a red card 10 minutes into the second half for a studs-up challenge on Bayo’s ribs.
Midway through the second half, the National Thunder earned a penalty when Sekou Sylla fouled Iban Salvador. However, captain Emilio Nsue struck the base of the right-hand upright with the spot-kick.
As the game approached extra time, striker Mohamed Bayo secured the victory by heading in Ibrahim Diakite’s cross from the right flank just inside the near post in the final minute of added time.
Making it to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2015, the West Africans will face DR Congo in Abidjan on Friday (20:00 GMT) after the Leopards defeated seven-time champions Egypt 8-7 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Despite having a one-man advantage for the final 35 minutes, Guinea struggled to capitalize until the closing stages, with goalkeeper Jesus Owono making a crucial save to tip a header from striker Serhou Guirassy over the bar.
However, Mohamed Bayo’s dramatic late goal proved decisive, breaking the resistance of Equatorial Guinea and securing Syli National’s first triumph in seven knockout stage appearances at the finals.
The Le Havre striker’s winning header, recorded at 97 minutes and 38 seconds, now stands as the latest winning goal in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations knockout matches.
Nsue unable to continue National Thunder run
Emerging as the surprise standout in the group stage, Equatorial Guinea clinched the top spot in Group A, surpassing Nigeria and hosts Ivory Coast, with Emilio Nsue leading the scoring charts with five goals.
The first half witnessed limited action in the attacking third, with Mohamed Bayo’s early attempt finding the side-netting and Guinea’s Morgan Guilavogli shooting over from a distance.
In the opening moments of the second half, Nsue’s volley from 12 yards sailed over the bar. However, the dynamics of the game shifted when Federico Bikoro received a straight red card for a forceful challenge on Bayo while clearing the ball in midfield.
Equatorial Guinea was presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead after the video assistant referee prompted a review. The referee awarded a penalty, ruling that Sekou Sylla had fouled Iban Salvador as the midfielder controlled a pass.
Despite veteran striker Nsue, who plies his trade in Spain’s third tier, successfully deceiving Guinea keeper Ibrahim Kone with his shot, he couldn’t add to his tally at the finals.
Beyond substitute Guirassy’s header and a modest attempt from right-back Diakite, Guinea struggled to create significant scoring opportunities until the announcement of eight minutes of added time. It was in this extended period that Bayo secured the victory in the dying moments.
Equatorial Guinea, having reached at least the quarter-finals in their three previous Afcon appearances, couldn’t replicate that success this time. Juan Micha’s team, led by a 34-year-old Nsue, lamented his crucial miss as Guinea celebrated the win at the final whistle.
Managed by former Arsenal striker Kaba Diawara, the West Africans had finished behind Senegal and Cameroon in the group stage but progressed to the knockout rounds as one of the four best-ranked third-placed teams.