Senegal fell to Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in Group A play at the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, thus eliminating them from advancement in the tournament. (BBC Sport) As a result, Newcastle strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse will be returning to the club at an earlier date than expected. Senegal still have a third group game to play on Sunday, so it is doubtful that they would be able to return for the Magpies' league match at Ewood Park in Blackburn two days later. However, they should be ready to go for the February 5 clash with Aston Villa on Tyneside.
Senegal was a heavy favorite to advance out of group play, and the play of Cisse and Ba was disappointing in that they did not score, but they did not lack for opportunities. The squad's poor showing actually helps the chances of Cheik Tiote's Cote d'Ivoire team, who will play a Group A team in the quarterfinals if and when they advance. Cote d'Ivoire faces Burkina Faso in their second group game on Thursday, and they can secure advancement if they win and if Angola defeats or draws Sudan. If the Ivorians were to advance as far as the semifinal round, Tiote would not be able to return to Newcastle until the February 25 match with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Sports Direct Arena.