Attacking prowess to come good for Ivory Coast
Group E winners, Mali, will take on the runners up in Group D, Ivory Coast in the penultimate round of 16 tie in this years’ Africa Cup of Nations. The 2015 champions were in a spot of bother after losing to Morocco in the group but recovered very well in smashing Namibia 4-1 in their last game to ensure qualification, and they will fancy their chances against a Mali side they have a positive head-to-head record with. This tournament being one of the first opportunities for this new look Ivorian team to assert their authority in the post-Drogba and Toure’s era.
The Eagles are unbeaten thus far however they have been susceptible to conceding late on with four of the last five goals they have let in, coming in the final 20 minutes of the game. In an offensive sense when they do come out on top, they have been doing it in style of late with four of their last five victories being accompanied by a clean sheet with them scoring three or more goals on three of those occasions.
The Elephants have won six of their last eight and navigated themselves through a potentially tricky group taking six points. 68.75% of their goals on that run have come after half time and they are strong favourites given their record against Mali (6W, 2D, 1L). Goals could be aplenty with five of Mali’s last six encounters seeing both teams get on the scoresheet, there have also been three penalties in the Eagles’ last four games.
Mali can be a traditionally tough team to break down and a nation that usually punches above its weight in individual class, whereas you may say the opposite about Ivory Coast who had the golden generation of African football and failed to put a serious run together in a World Cup. Neither team boasts a player with more than one goal in the tournament with The Elephants still tinkering to find their best staring eleven. Though they have bags of firepower in attack with the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Max Gradel and Maxwel Cornet who scored as a substitute versus Namibia, an intimidating prospect for any defence in the AFCON.
Ivory Coast will find a way to get past this resilient Mali side in a nervy last 16 clash. The trickery of Zaha and Cornet will create chances aplenty for the Ivorians to outscore their opponents on this occasion.
Mali – Ivory Coast Betting Tip
Ivory Coast to Win with Ladbrokes at odds of 6/5.