Football Tips

Africa Cup of Nations Betting Tips & Predictions: Mali vs Ivory Coast


Côte d’Ivoire’s dream of winning this Africa Cup of Nations on home soil is still alive, although Mali will certainly provide tough opposition in this quarter-final clash in Bouaké.

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Côte d’Ivoire supporters have already endured quite the rollercoaster of emotions at this tournament, but the host nation are still alive and dreaming of glory.

On the final day of the group phase, les Éléphants’ appeared to have suffered an ignominious group phase exit, completely capitulating, smashed 4-0 by Equatorial Guinea, thereby enduring their heaviest ever home defeat.

This result saw Jean-Louis Gasset sacked as Head Coach even though, 48 hours later, it transpired that Ivory Coast had done enough to sneak through as the fourth-best ranked third-place finisher on three points.

So then, now led by caretaker boss Emerse Faé, they faced reigning champions Senegal in a very tough looking round of 16 tie last Monday night in Yamoussoukro.

Senegal struck first after just four minutes, and 1-0 is how it remained until, with just four minutes to play, referee Pierre Atcho awarded the hosts a penalty, that Franck Kessié cooly slotted home.

This was not the end of the 12-yard action, with the tie ultimately decided by a penalty competition.

Nicolas Pépé, Christian Kouamé, Sébastien Haller and Serge Aurier all held their nerve, with Senegal missing their third spot-kick, meaning, by the time Kessié converted again, Ivory Coast were through.

In summary, the 1992 and 2015 champions have certainly had to work hard just to get this far, with Côte d’Ivoire now slight-favourites to get through to the semis.

Mali though cannot be underestimated, as they aim to reach the last four for the seventh time, most-recently achieving this in 2013.

Les Aigles came through the group phase unbeaten, before ousting Burkina Faso 2-1 on Tuesday, with Lassine Sinayoko the match-winner in Korhogo; he’s now scored three of their five goals at this tournament.

Éric Chelle’s team does contain plenty of top-talent and, with the winners of this tie facing either DR Congo or Guinea in the semi-finals, there is genuine belief that Mali could reach a first final for 52 years.

The last time these two went head-to-head was at the 2019 Cup of Nations, with Côte d’Ivoire prevailing 1-0 in that round of 16 tie, courtesy of a late winner from Wilfried Zaha in Suez.

Roared on by the home crowd, we expect the hosts to prevail at Stade de la Paix.

Both teams to score

Both teams scored in both nations’ round of 16 encounters, and we foresee this pattern continuing.

Ivory Coast have kept just six clean sheets in 19 matches since crashing out of the last AFCON two years ago, these all against minnows: Lesotho twice, Comoros, Seychelles, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Meanwhile, both teams have scored in six of Mali’s last eight matches, while the Eagles have scored in 16 of their last 17 fixtures, the sole exception an AFCON qualifier against the Gambia last March.

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Both teams to score

Mali vs Côte d'Ivoire

Draw after 90 minutes and Ivory Coast to qualify

We can certainly see this one going to extra time and possibly penalties, given that each of Côte d’Ivoire’s last three, and four of their last five, AFCON knockout ties have been settled by penalty shootouts.

There’s not a lot to seperate the two sides but, if it does go the distance, les Éléphants’s strength in depth could make the difference, as could the fact they won a penalty shootout as recently as Monday.

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Draw after 90 minutes and Ivory Coast to qualify

Mali vs Côte d'Ivoire

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Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".