The Africa Cup of Nations group stages continue on Saturday with three more matches coming your way.
Africa Cup of Nations acca of the day
Algeria vs Burkina Faso
The game of the day is up first, with Group D’s two heavyweights meeting in Bouaké, although only one of them made a winning start in their group opener.
Algeria were widely-expected to swat Angola aside on Monday night, a zeitgeist that was only enhanced when Baghdad Bounedjah volleyed the 2019 champions in front inside ten minutes.
However, Djamel Belmadi’s team could not find that all-important second goal, not one that counted anyway, and were punished, with Angola equalising mid-way through the second 45, and 1-1 is how it finished.
The Desert Foxes won this competition for the first time in almost four decades five years ago, before crashing out in the group phase as holders in 2022, so are desperate to avoid a repeat of the latter.
Burkina Faso meantime reached the 2013 final, also featuring in the 2017 and 2022 semi-finals.
This time round, les Étalons, just, began their bid for glory with victory over Mauritania, albeit they required a 96th minute penalty to prevail 1-0, cooly converted by the ultra-experienced Bertrand Traoré.
Hubert Velud’s team have now scored in 15 successive Africa Cup of Nations matches, a sequence dating back nine years, the longest ongoing streak of any team in the competition.
This shows that Burkina Faso cannot be taken lightly, but Algeria are still favourites to prevail at Stade de la Paix.
Mauritania vs Angola
Later on in Bouaké, Group D’s two outsiders go head-to-head, with both needing a win to keep alive their round of 16 hopes alive.
As mentioned above, Angola do have an unlikely point to their name, with Mabululu’s second half penalty, that bounced off the crossbar and just went over the line, snatching a draw against Algeria.
The Black Sable antelopes have still not won an AFCON match since 2012, but earning a point from, on paper, their toughest match of the group phase is certainly a good start.
Mauritania meantime came agonisingly close to earning a draw of their own on Monday, thwarted by a dubious 96th minute penalty that saw them beaten 1-0 by Burkina Faso.
Lions of Chinguetti are still searching for their first-ever win at a Cup of Nations, holding Angola and Tunisia to goalless draw as debutants in 2019, but have now lost four on the spin, including all three in 2022.
As mentioned, when these two met at AFCON 2019 in Suez, it finished goalless, and another draw at Stade de la Paix would surprise no one, given that this one is tough to call.
Tunisia vs Mali
Turning our attention to Group E, the section’s two heavyweights go head-to-head at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly, although they made contrasting starts to this tournament.
Tunisia were on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in recent AFCON history on Tuesday, beaten 1-0 by Namibia, with the Brave Warriors’ claiming a first-ever win at a major tournament.
On the flip side, this immediately leaves the Eagles of Carthage under huge pressure, expected to reach the knockout phase at a fifth successive AFCON, although defeat here for Jalel Kadri’s team would leave their fate in the balance.
Mali meanwhile did put three points on the board, beating South Africa 2-0, thanks to quick-fire second half goals from Hamari Traoré and then Lassine Sinayoko.
Les Aigles have reached the round of 16 at the last two Cup of Nations, with Éric Chelle’s team fully aware that a win here would continue that streak.
When these two met at the most-recent AFCON two years ago, Mali won 1-0 in Limbe, a match made famous for referee Janny Sikazwe blowing for full time prematurely not once but twice.
Two months later, Tunisia did exact revenge, prevailing 1-0 over two legs in the World Cup play-offs, with Moussa Sissako own goal in Bàmakɔ̌ settling the tie.
Given that their last four encounters have produced only three goals, don’t expect a classic in Korhogo.