Southampton duo Moussa Djenepo and Sofiane Boufal will embark on the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in the coming days, after both finished top of their respective groups in Egypt.
Djenepo’s Mali took seven points from their three matches, drawing with Tunisia either side of victories over Mauritania and Angola in Group E.
The Eagles now face a tricky test in the last 16, having been paired with Group D runners-up Ivory Coast – one of the most dangerous teams in the competition.
Ivory Coast, whose squad includes Premier League players Wilfried Zaha, Serge Aurier and Jonathan Kodjia, finished second behind Boufal’s Morocco, and will go head to head with Djenepo and co in Suez on Monday (kick-off 5pm BST).
The Moroccans have made an impressive start to the tournament, as one of only three teams to win all three group matches without conceding a goal.
The Atlas Lions defeated Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa – all by a solitary goal – with two of those victories coming courtesy of last-gasp winners.
They will be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals when they face Benin, who drew all three group games, on Friday (5pm BST).
With the full bracket for the knockout stage confirmed, it is impossible for Djenepo and Boufal to meet before the final/third place play-off.
We will continue to provide updates on their progress here at southamptonfc.com.