Equatorial Guinea crushed the Elephants in Abidjan, forcing host nation Ivory Coast to rely on other outcomes to escape a stunning Africa Cup of Nations group-stage departure.
Emilio Nsue’s double, Pablo Ganet’s 25-yard free kick, and Yannick Buyla’s late goal gave the National Thunder a memorable victory that secured first place in Group A.
After placing third in their group, the hosts must now focus on qualifying.
The four best third-placed teams from the six groups advance to the last 16.
34-year-old Emilio Nsue is the current Top Scorer at AFCON 2023 with 5 goals in 3 games.
He plays as a wing back Defender for Spanish third tier club, CF Intercity, but Plays as a Striker for his country.
Ibrahim Sangare twice had equalisers called out for the Ivorians when they were just a goal behind, but the Elephants squandered several opportunities and were punished by their clinical opponents.
At the final whistle, some Ivorian players were in tears as they were noisily booed out by a furious partisan crowd at Alassane Ouattara Stadium following one of the most shocking Afcon surprises.
The Ivorian legend, Didder Drogba was captured looking extremely disappointed.
The Equatorial Guinea contingent, meanwhile, rejoiced enthusiastically after securing another seismic victory in the finals, and they will face a third-placed team from Group C, D, or E in the last 16 on Sunday.
Their best performance at an Afcon tournament was reaching the semi-finals as hosts in 2015 but they finished above three-time champions Nigeria and the Ivorians, two-time winners, in an unexpected twist.
Ivory Coast will have to wait until the rest of the groups end on Wednesday to discover if their three points and -3 goal difference are enough to advance to the knockout rounds.