Afcon 2021: Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, The Gambia and Tunisia reach last 16

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Malawi and Cape Verde reach Afcon last 16Malawi reached the knockout stages for the first time

Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali and The Gambia all reached the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday without kicking a ball.

Both Guinea-Bissau and Sudan could have secured one of the four best third-placed sides available but lost to Nigeria and Egypt respectively.

These defeats on Wednesday opened the doors for the six sides.

Celebrations will be particularly acute in Malawi and The Gambia as both sides reach the knockout phase for the first time.

Tunisia will also join the teams in the second round as long as they avoid a defeat by six clear goals to The Gambia on Thursday.

Should the 2004 champions lose by such a scoreline, Comoros could achieve a fairytale qualification.

Ivory Coast are former winners while Mali and Cape Verde are hoping to lift the trophy for the first time.

Two-time champions Ivory Coast are the sole side through from Group E so far and face Algeria in Douala on Thursday in a game the 2019 winners must take three points from to progress.

Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, who meet in Limbe, can also progress from the group.

Three teams can still top Group F, with The Gambia, who have four points, playing Tunisia, who have a point less, while Mali, joint top with the Gambian Scorpions, take on already-eliminated Mauritania.

After the Nations Cup's group phase comes to a close on Thursday, there are two rest days before the Round of 16 gets underway when Burkina Faso play Gabon on Sunday.

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