Franck Kessié's exceptional performance propelled Ivory Coast past Senegal, breaking a long-standing record set by Ivorian legend Didier Drogba.
A week ago, the narrative for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations was bleak, shadowed by a demoralizing 4-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea.
Today the Elephants stand tall having ousted the reigning champions, Senegal, in a dramatic turn of events, propelling themselves into the coveted last eight.
The resurgence of this team that was once perceived as a fading force has been nothing short of cinematic with the latest chapter penned by the indomitable spirit of Franck Kessié.
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In a narrative befitting the grandest of stages, Kessié's poise and precision from the penalty spot not only breathed life back into the Elephants in the dying embers of the match but also etched his name into the annals of history.
His nerve-wracking execution of the 86th-minute penalty against the formidable Edouard Mendy sent shockwaves through the stadium, pulling Ivory Coast back from the brink and into the throes of extra time.
According to CAFOnline, Kessié's successful penalty kick was more than just a game-changer; it was a record-breaking moment.
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The Al-Ahli star became the first Côte d'Ivoire player to score a penalty goal in the AFCON since Didier Drogba's strike against Morocco in 2006.
Moreover, he was the first Ivorian to achieve this feat in a knockout game since Lucien Kassi-Kouadio's effort in the 1986 edition’s third-place match against Morocco.
As Kessié confidently placed the ball on the spot during the shootout, the weight of history was on his shoulders. Yet, the midfielder showed nerves of steel, delivering the decisive kick that sealed a 5-4 victory for Ivory Coast.
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It was a moment that not only secured his team's place in the quarter-finals but also solidified his status as a key player in the national squad.
Kessié's ascent is reminiscent of Didier Drogba's journey with the national team. Drogba, an Ivorian icon, was known for his ability to rise to the occasion in crucial matches.
His penalty goal against Morocco in the 2006 AFCON is etched in the memories of Ivorian fans.
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Kessié with his latest achievement is walking in the footsteps of this great Ivorian striker showcasing a blend of skill, composure, and clutch performance.