The Ivory Coast earned a 4-1 win to reach the quarter-finals ©CAF

Ivory Coast sealed their progression to the quarter-final stage of the 2016 African Nations Championship in Rwanda after two high scoring matches brought Group A to a close.

Having begun the day second in the group, the Ivory Coast knew that avoiding defeat against Gabon would see them join hosts Rwanda in the knock-out phase of the competition and they romped home 4-1.

Aka Essis put them in complete control after 19 minutes of the match with the midfielder scoring with a low shot, forcing Gabon to score twice to progress.

Five minutes after half-time, Gabon’s hopes were lifted as Franck Obambou headed in from a corner kick, however Djedje Guiza was able to restore the Ivory Coast’s lead shortly afterwards, with the goalkeeper Yves Bitseki proving unable to keep the striker’s effort out.

A demoralised Gabon team saw their faint hopes of a comeback ended as Koffi Boua and Nilmar Ble found the net in the final 15 minutes.

Having lost to Rwanda in their opening game, the Ivory Coast would have to settle for qualifying to the quarter-finals as the runners-up, on account of their head-to-head record.

It followed the host nation, whose progression had already been secured, suffering a surprisingly heavy 4-1 loss to Morocco.

The Moroccan team had failed to score in their opening two matches of the tournament, but struck twice in the opening 25 minutes of their final tie at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.

Rwanda fell to a shock 4-1 defeat but still ended top of the group
Rwanda fell to a shock 4-1 defeat but still ended top of the group ©CAF

Abdelghani Mouaoui scored the opener with a powerfully struck drive from inside the box, with Mohamed Aziz doubling the tally shortly afterwards.

A well-worked move put Rwanda back into the match as Hegman Ngomirakiza powerfully lashed into the Moroccan net from a right wing cross.

The home team’s defence continued to be their Achilles heel, with a header from Abdeladim Khadrouf and Mouaoui’s second goal of the game giving Morocco a 4-1 half-time advantage.

After the drama of the first half both sides proved unable to repeat the feat in the second half, with no further goals scored.

Despite the victory, Morocco ended the group in third and were eliminated alongside Gabon.

The tournament, now in its fourth edition, differs from the more elite Africa Cup of Nations, as only players who represent clubs on the continent are allowed to take part.

Defending champions Libya are not participating after failing to come through qualification.