Sadio Mane and Achraf Hakimi delivered a footballing masterclass as Senegal and Morocco sealed their places in the AFCON 2021 quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Pulse Recap: Mane, Hakimi steal show as Senegal & Morocco reach last 8
The penultimate day of the first round of the knockout stages saw Sadio Mane and Achraf Hakimi emerge as the stars
There were five goals and two red cards as Senegal defeated nine-man Cape Verde in the first game of the day while the Atlas Lions beat Malawi in the final match of the day.
Mane ends up in the hospital after leading Teranga Lions past 9-man Cape Verde
Africa's top-ranked side, Senegal paid a huge price for the round of 16 win over Cape Verde after star man, Sadio Mane ended up in the hospital from the pitch.
The Liverpool star put on a man of the match display, scored the opener just after the hour mark before suffering a concussion and was substituted seven minutes later with his nation ahead.
Mane was subsequently taken to the hospital for further examination, while Senegal sealed passage to the last eight when Bamba Dieng doubled their advantage in added time to defeat Cape Verde, who had two men sent off in either half of the match.
With the victory, Senegal awaits the winner of the Mali and Equatorial Guinea round of 16 clash slated for Wednesday in the quarterfinal.
Hakimi-inspired Morocco dims Flames of Malawi
The Atlas Lions of Morocco survived a scare from the Flames of Malawi to join Senegal in the quarterfinal.
Morocco come from behind to beat Malawi 2-1 in a match the Moroccans totally dominated from start to finish.
Malawi drew the first blood through their main man, Mhango Gabadinho, who opened the scoring with a 35-yard screamer give the Flames a shock lead.
The goal sparked Morocco to life as they piled on the pressure on Malawi in search of an equaliser but the Malawian goalkeeper, Charles Thom, did his best to stop everything thrown at him.
However, Sevilla star, Youssef En-Nseyri gave the Atlas Lions a deserved equaliser when he headed in the leveller just before the break.
After the break, PSG star, Hakimi sealed the win and a place in the final eight when he netted his second consecutive free-kick to send the Atlas Lions through.
Morocco will take on the winner of the titanic clash between Ivory Coast and Egypt in the round of 16.