Mali, Ivory Coast clash for quarterfinal berth

Monday July 8 2019

Tough stage. Morocco’s  Mehdi Amine El

Tough stage. Morocco’s Mehdi Amine El Mouttaqui (L) fights for the ball with Ivorian Jonathan Kodjia as the Atlas Lions won the game 1-0. PHOTO BY JOHN BATANUDDE 

By Fredrick Musisi Kiyingi

Fortebet Odds
Mali - Ivory Coast
3.65 2.88 2.41

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Cairo. The first six matches at the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 has some unexpected results.
Today we have two matches of the round, first up a Francophone clash between Mali Eagles and Ivory Coast Elephants, the two times Africa champions in Suez Stadium.

Will the Eagles’ woeful record at the Afcon continue against the Elephants, who have won three of their last four matches (all competitions)?
Ivory Coast qualified for the round of 16 after finishing second in Group D behind Morocco, wrapping their group with 4-1 thrashing of Namibia. The introduction of Wilfred Zaha and Maxwell Cornet to the starting lineup has given local coach Ibrahima Kamara headache. Both scored against Namibia.

Regular starters Jonathan Kodjia and highly- rated Nicolas Pepe, who are yet to score, were left on the bench but are expected to return to the team with Zaha and Cornet completing the front four. The Elephants registered a 3-1 win over their West African rivals during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with Jonathan Kodjia scoring one of the goals.

Marega club form
Mohamed Magassouba, the caretaker coach of the Eagles, hopes star striker Moussa Marega, who terrorised defenses in Portugal and Champions League with Porto, reproduces that form. The burly striker has just scored one goal in his last five international appearances.
His goal came in the 4-1 win over Afcon debutant Mauritania. With Kalifa Coulibaly of Nantes also struggling, the coach will have to turn to lively Adama Traore of Wolves who scored twice against Mauritania.
The final match of this round pits Ghana Black Stars, four time Africa champion, against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in Ismailia stadium.

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Ghana vs. Guinea-Bissau
KEY STATISTICS
*Mali have lost four of their last seven matches against Ivory Coast (all competitions).
*Ivory Coast have won three of their last four matches (all competitions).
*Ivory Coast’s Jonathan Kodjia has scored five goals in his last nine matches (all competitions).
Head-to-Head
Mali 3 wins
Draws 9
Ivory Coast 18 wins

Today’s fixtures
Benin Today last 16 fixtures
Mali vs. Ivory Coast
(SS7, 7 pm LIVE)
Ghana vs. Tunisia
(SS7, 10 pm LIVE)

fmusisi@ug.nationmedia.com

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