Senegal will have to overcome the Cape Verde hurdle at the round of 16 if they are to keep alive their chances of a first ever Africa Cup of Nations trophy.
At the Stade Omnisport de Bafoussam on Tuesday, it will be judgement day for Cape Verde too who are also looking for their maiden AFCON glory.
Aliou Cisse’s Senegal needed a 97th-minute penalty which was clinically executed by Sadio Mane to see off Zimbabwe in their opening game on January 10.
This was followed by an uneventful goalless draw with Guinea in their second group outing before finally wrapping things up with yet another 0-0 draw with Malawi last time out.
However, with five points from three games, the Lions of Teranga secured the top spot in Group B, one point above Guinea and Malawi, who finished level on four points, to secure smooth passage to this knockout stage.
Senegal are now the only side to make it to multiple AFCON finals without claiming the title after losing on penalties to Cameroon back in 2002 and suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of Algeria in Egypt three years ago.
However, despite their lack of sting in attack at this edition, the West Africans remain the only side yet to concede a goal at the tournament.
Cape Verde, on the other hand, are one of the four best third-placed sides from the group stages having picked up four points from three games in Group A.
The Blue Sharks kicked off their AFCON run with a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia on January 9 courtesy of Julio Tavares’s 45th-minute strike, before crashing back down to earth four days later when they lost by the same scoreline to Burkina Faso.
Cape Verde wrapped things up in the group stages last time out when they put on a resilient performance to come from behind and salvage a 1-1 draw against hosts, Cameroon.
Including International friendlies, Senegal has won all four previous meetings between the two nations, with the most recent one in 2021 ending 2-0 courtesy of Idrissa Gana Gueye and Sadio Mane goals.
Cheikhou Kouyate will play no part in Tuesday’s game as the Crystal Palace man will serve a one-match suspension after picking up a yellow card for the second straight game against Malawi last time out.