Key stats and records from AFCON 2023 ahead of Group Stage third round

Stats and records to note ahead of AFCON 2023 Group Stage third round | Imago

Key stats and records from AFCON 2023 ahead of Group Stage third round

Ayoola Kelechi 17:39 - 22.01.2024

The Africa Cup of Nations has thrown up a number of interesting numbers that sum up competition's ups and downs so far heading into the third round of group games

As we expect more intrigue in the final round of group games at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, we look back at some intriguing stats and milestones from the second round of games.

From Emilio Nsue’s record-breaking hat-trick to the unusually high number of goals that the competition has produced, enjoy some riveting numbers that sum up the 2023 AFCON so far.

Race for AFCON Golden Boot

Equatorial Guinea’s Nsue shot up to the top of the scorers’ chart with the first AFCON hat-trick since 2008, becoming the first player since Morocco’s Soafiane Alloudi to score a treble in the competition.

The former Spain international’s feat underpins the level of quality at the 2023 AFCON which has also seen the most goals per game on record (2.7) since 2008.

Nsue is joined at the summit of goalscoring excellence at AFCON 2023 by Algeria’s Baghdad Bounedjah, whose brace against Burkina Faso earned a point for the Fennec Foxes in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Ghana’s Mohamed Kudus and Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore lead a group of seven players on two goals each who are also looking to displace Nsue and Bounedjah from the top of the goalscorer’s list.

Player records from AFCON Group Stage Round 2

In addition to Nsue scoring the first AFCON hat-trick for 15 years, the Equatorial Guinea captain also became the oldest player to score three times in one match at AFCON, and was one of a few players who hit individual milestones during the second round of matches in the Group Stage.

There were three records broken during South Africa’s 4-0 hammering of Namibia. In addition to the Bafana Bafana claiming the biggest win in their AFCON history, Thapelo Maseko also became the youngest player from South Africa to score in the competition at 20 years and 71 days, while Themba Zwane became the oldest with his brace at the age of 34 years and 171 days

Senegal captain Sadio Mane continued to strengthen his legacy as the Teranga Lions’ greatest-ever player, becoming the first player in the country’s history to score in four AFCON tournaments thanks to his goal in the 3-1 win over Cameroon.

In Group B, Cape Verde star Bebe also hit an individual record after scoring the farthest freekick on record at the AFCON since at least 2010 with his 39.5-metre screamer against Mozambique, which was also the fifth farthest goal in that period.

The most attack-minded AFCON on record

While the Africa Cup of Nations has been maligned for its tough terrain and inability to produce entertaining games, the 2023 edition has shattered all the stereotypes, showcasing an open, free-flowing, and offensive side to African football that fans have longed for.

In addition to having the best scoring ratio for more than a decade, the 2023 AFCON has also seen the best shot-to-goal conversion rate on record in the competition’s history since 2010, with 12.3% of all 521 shots fired at goal ending up in the back of the net.

The 2023 AFCON has also hit a peak for passing, with 622 successful passes per game at an 81% success rate, the most at an AFCON tournament for both metrics since 2010.

Tunisia’s goal against Zambia in the 1-1 draw was further proof of the passing prowess of players at AFCON 2023, as the 16 passes leading up to the goal was the longest sequence leading to a goal in the competition since 2010 as well.

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