Win or bust for Algeria in perfectly poised group
We reach crunch time in Group E of the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday afternoon with the holders Algeria needing a victory over Ivory Coast to guarantee progression in the tournament.
The Greens are yet to score from 32 shots in the competition, drawing their opener 0-0 with Sierra Leone before suffering a 1-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea.
The pair who have taken points off of Algeria go into the final game of the group stage, knowing that a win could see them top the group, a huge surprise with the other two heavyweights they were drawn against.
Ivory Coast looked set to build a cushion at the top of the group but for some calamitous goalkeeping to see Sierra Leone equalise in the dying embers of their last match.
The Elephants are top of the group on four points, Equatorial Guinea second on three, Sierra Leone third on two and Algeria bottom on one.
The holders are favourites despite their frustrating start to the competition, it is unsustainable to believe that they will draw a blank again if they can create as many shooting opportunities as they have in the last two games.
The Greens have the talent in the squad and the experience in the tournament to keep believing and to overcome Ivory Coast in this encounter. The Elephants have already guaranteed a top three finish even with all the permutations that remain possible in Group E.
Even in these trying circumstances, Algeria should be able to step up with Ismael Bennacer holding the key in central midfield.
It will be an intriguing battle between Bennacer and Jean-Michael Seri, of the Elephants, who both enjoy possession and look to dictate play in the middle of the park.
Franck Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare and Seri will make it very difficult for Algeria to break them down, but the Ivorians are a little reliant on their front three for inspiration it must be said.
A lot is riding on the other match in Group E and therefore Ivory Coast can never feel comfortable about qualifying unless they are winning or drawing the game.
Algeria will have the quality to take it deep, stay patient and look to pounce in the closing exchanges.
It could be a close run thing but Algeria are rightful favourites to get over the line.
This one is set up beautifully, there is so much drama set to unfold on Thursday afternoon in a feast for neutral viewing.
Ivory Coast - Algeria Betting Tip
Double Chance Algeria to Win or Draw + Ivory Coast to Score Under 1.5 goals with Betway at odds of 19/25 or 1.74.
Bet Double Chance Algeria to Win or Draw + Ivory Coast to Score Under 1.5 goals on Betway
Post bet chat Marcus's Tips:
The holders crash out. 3-1 Ivory Coast.