The quarter-finals at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations get going with two ties from Abidjan on Friday.
Here are our betting tips for the day’s action.
AFCON Betting Tips - Friday 2 February
Africa Cup of Nations Acca of the Day
Nigeria vs Angola betting tips
Not many were tipping Nigeria for Africa Cup of Nations glory before a ball was kicked but now, following all the upsets we’ve seen, they are actually favourites to claim a fourth title.
In their heavyweight round of 16 tie on Saturday night, the Super Eagles swatted aside Cameroon 2-0 at Le Félicia, thanks to a pair of Ademola Lookman strikes.
Given that the Indomitable Lions have, on three seperate occasions, beaten Nigeria in the Cup of Nations Final, 1984, 1988 and 2000, this was a big moment, as it felt as though they’d overcome a massive hoodoo.
As mentioned, Nigeria are three-times AFCON champions, most-recently hoisting aloft the trophy in 2013 in Johannesburg, and this team have been impressive so far, yet to taste defeat, also beating hosts Côte d’Ivoire during the group phase.
So, José Peseiro’s side come into this tie as clear favourites, hoping to get through to Wednesday night’s semi-final, where either Cape Verde or South Africa await.
Angola though cannot be written off, given that they’ve already upset the odds just to get this far.
Prior to the tournament, the Black Sable antelopes were the third-lowest ranked side of the 24-team field, but managed to top Group D unbeaten, holding Algeria to a draw before beating both Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
This saw Pedro Gonçalves’ side face knockout phase debutants Namibia in the round of 16, prevailing 3-0 in Bouaké last weekend, but that does not begin to tell the story.
Angolan goalkeeper Neblú was sent off after just 17 minutes for handling the ball about five yards outside his box.
It mattered not because Gelson Dala scored twice in quick-succession just before half time, with Namibia reduced to ten-men during this period too, before Mabululu’s cool finish secured victory late on.
This is Angola’s first-ever knockout victory, hoping it’s third time lucky in the quarter-finals, having been dumped out in this round by Egypt in 2008 and Ghana on home soil in Luanda two years later.
Amazingly, these two have not met since World Cup 2006 qualifying, with Angola winning 1-0 at home before a 1-1 draw in Kano helped them qualify for their first-ever World Cup at Nigeria’s expense.
This time, we expect the Super Eagles to prevail at Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny.
DR Congo vs Guinea betting tips
Friday night’s quarter-final match-up presents both of these two with a great chance to reach the semi-finals, where they’ll face either Mali or hosts Côte d’Ivoire.
DR Congo are two-times winners of this competition, although these came way back in 1968 and 1974 when they were known as Congo-Kinshasa and then Zaire respectively.
Now though, after seeing their side dump out record seven-times winners Egypt on Sunday night, Leopards supporters are dreaming of glory once again.
That tie in San Pédro ended 1-1, with Meschak Elia’s opener cancelled out soon after, meaning penalties were required.
Arthur Masuaku did sky his effort miles over the bar, but Samuel Moutoussamy, Grady Diangana, Silas, Aaron Tshibola, Gédéon Kalulu, Chancel Mbemba and Henock Inonga Baka all held their nerve, meaning, with the score 7-7, it was goalkeeper vs goalkeeper.
Egyptian shotstopper Gabaski thwacked the crossbar and then, as roles reversed, Lionel Mpasi’s kept his cool, picked out the top left corner and DR Congo had done it.
Sébastien Desabre’s side didn’t even qualify for the most-recent AFCON, but les Léopards are now on the cusp of their first semi-final appearance in nine years.
Guinea meantime haven’t got further than this for 48 years, ending up as runners-up way back in 1976, dumped out in the first knockout round on six occasions in the last two decades.
On Sunday however, they changed that fact, ousting ten-man Equatorial Guinea, courtesy of Mohamed Bayo’s flick-header, coming in the 98th minute no less, sparking scenes of jubilation.
Kaba Diawara’s team only got through as a best-ranked third-place finisher, their sole group phase win coming over minnows the Gambia, but the National Elephants are still fighting, dreaming of a semi-final spot.
This clash at Stade Alassane Ouattara is very tough to call, so don’t be surprised if we see extra time or possibly even penalties in Abidjan, but we do give the slight-edge to DR Congo.