The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 round of 16 matches continue on Monday July 8 with the Elephants of Ivory Coast taking on the Eagles of Mali at the 27,000-capacity Suez Sports Stadium in Suez.
The team that comes out on top will book a quarter-final showdown with Algeria who booked their place in the last eight after defeating The Syli Nationale of Guinea 3-0 at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo.
The Eagles were the standout team of Group E in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as they topped the group with seven points, four points more than second-placed Tunisia after winning their final game against Angola.
Incredibly, Mali were the only team in Group E to register a win and with qualification secure, opted to make eight changes to their starting XI ahead of their final group match. Despite making so many changes along with all the upheaval in camp which witnessed a player get expelled from the team over indiscipline, Mali still managed to claim a 1-0 win thanks to Amadou Haidara’s first-half effort.
The Malians will need to improve in the knockout stages despite their solid group campaign but with the majority of their first-choice side receiving a well-earned rest, the Eagles should come back refreshed for this last 16 clash.
The Elephants secured the win needed to progress to the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations as they ran out big winners over Namibia but were given a scare in their Group D contest.
Great pressure was on the Ivory Coast to get the win but their nerves were eased when Max Gradel put his side ahead before the break and despite doubling their lead through an own goal, Namibia clawed a goal back before late goals from Wilfried Zaha and Maxwell Cornet sealed the victory.
That win ensured the Ivory Coast finished second in their group and needing to improve on an inconsistent performance from the group stage if they wish to go far at AFCON 2019. And having made his first start of the tournament, Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, will be hoping to retain his place in the Ivorian starting line-up in order to help lead his team to the latter stages of the comeptition.
Head to Head
The men in orange have won a whopping 18 of the 30 encounters between these two, with nine draws and a paltry three Malian successes.
Mali possible starting line-up: Diarra, Traore, Wagu, Fofana, Kone, Samassekou, Coulibaly, Diaby, Adama, Djenepo, Marega
Ivory Coast possible starting line-up: Gbohouo, Coulibaly, Traore, Kanon, Aurier, Serey Die, Kessie, Seri, Max Gradel, Pepe, Kodjia.
Ivory Coast are given 2.54 odd to win, which shows the Elephants are favourites to stamp their might on the Eagles and win the match especially as Mali were given 3.40 odd to from the game victorious. But there’s is a room for taking a risk when it comes to betting and if you can take a risk of staking ₦8,071 on Ivory Coast, you will have a possible return of ₦20,500.
Though Mali are unbeaten in the competition and scored more goals than their next opponents so far, this particular encounter favours the 2015 AFCON champions. The Elephants have found the back of the net five times in their last three games while conceding not more than two goals. Ivory Coast’s last match alone saw them score four against their opponents.
Mali, on the other hand, have scored six goals in the competition so far and have recorded two wins and a draw in the process.