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Longest unbeaten runs over single rival in Africa

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) has witnessed a number of upsets with some longstanding records broken while others stayed intact. Tunisia ending their hoodoo over Ghana was a reminder that nothing stays for ever and here are some other records that stood for long.

1. Ghana vs Tunisia

Until their 5-4 post-match penalty win in the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations last Monday, Tunisia had never tasted victory against Ghana in 54 years. Tunisia had lost six times to Ghana in the African football showcase from 1965 after drawing the first meeting between the nations two years earlier, making Monday’s win even sweeter.

After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Ismailia, Tunisia scored from all five penalties while Ghana substitute Caleb Ekusan had his attempt saved by Farouk Ben Mustapha, who came off the bench especially for the shootout.

2. Ivory Coast vs Mali

For 36 years, Mali have proved to be the whipping boys of Ivory Coast and even attempts to change that record at the 2019 Afcon proved futile as Wilfred Zaha scored late to send the Elephants into the quarter-finals last week. Over that period, the two sides have met 24 times, the Ivorians winning 17 times and seven matches ending in stalemates.

3. Burkina Faso vs Ivory Coast

Like Senegal, Burkina Faso have also not tasted victory against Ivory Coast  in a competitive match. Since 1984, the two have clashed 14 times but the best the Burkinabe have ever recorded was a 2-0 win in a friendly match in December 1997. However, in competitive matches, the Ivorians have been the boss, winning six and drawing seven times. Burkina Faso failed to qualify for 2019 Afcon, meaning the record stayed intact.

4. Ivory Coast vs Senegal

For 33 years, Senegal have never beaten Ivory Coast in any competitive match. It is surprising given the pedigree of the two west Africa giants and the kind of talent they have produced over the years.

Ghana vs Cameroon.

The two sides last met in 2013 and in 16 matches, the best Senegal have got is three wins in friendly matches while the Ivorians have won nine, including four friendlies, with two draws recorded.

The two could meet again in 2019 Afcon which might give Senegal an opportunity to revenge.

5. Nigeria vs Cameroon

For 20 years between 1960 and 1980, Cameroon never tasted victory against Nigeria, the Super Eagles winning four and drawing five over that period.  Cameroon would get their revenge later, defeating Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000.

However, after the turn of the millennium, Nigeria have been the undisputed kings of this west African classic as they have won five and drawn once from 2003 to date, including a 3-2 victory in the last 16 of the 2019 Afcon, which ultimately dumped the holders out of the tournament.

6. Ghana vs Cameroon

Another west African classic, Ghana and Cameroon rival each other in almost ever sphere, from football to faux pas and squad drama. The Black Stars have confronted the Indomitable Lions five times at the Africa Cup of Nations from 1982 and the best they have achieved is three group draws while suffering two semi-final defeats.

The two met again in the group stages of the 2019 Afcon and the match ended in a dour barren draw as both of them advanced to the last 16 with five points a piece.

7. Morocco vs Egypt

While Egypt are the most successful team in the Africa Cup of Nations with seven titles won between 1957 and 2010, it is interesting that they never managed victory against north African rivals Morocco from 1988-2017, a period when they claimed four crowns. Morocco bossed this fixture until January 2017, when the Pharaohs won 1-0 at the Afcon in Gabon. In 12 matches over that period, there were only three wins with nine matches ending in draws.

8. Morocco vs Algeria

Algeria might have been the only north African giant to get to the latter stages of the 2019 Afcon but like Egypt, they have also struggled to get a positive result against Morocco. From1982-2004, Algeria never beat Morocco with the latter winning nine and drawing six of their 15 meetings over that period.

Algeria changed that by winning 1-0 in March 2001 but they did not celebrate for long as Morocco thumped them 4-0 in June the same year.

9. DRC vs Togo

Two-time Africa Cup of Nations Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) exercised a 48-year dominance over Togo from 1965-2013. Over that period, the two played 10 matches with DRC winning nine and just one ending in a draw. Even in 2006 when Togo were at their strongest and qualified for the Fifa World Cup, DRC still managed a 2-0 victory over them.

10. Nigeria vs Kenya

No single opponent has inflicted more pain on Harambee Stars than the Super Eagles. Those who are old enough would remember the hammering Kenya has received from Nigeria over the years as well as the close calls at Kasarani in 1997 and in Calabar in 2013 when ‘David’ almost downed ‘Goliath’, only to draw 1-1 on both occasions. Since 1981, the two have met 14 times, Nigeria winning 12 and two ending in draws. Good thing they did not meet at 2019 Afcon.

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