Football Tips

Africa Cup of Nations semi-final Betting Tips & Predictions: Ivory Coast vs DR Congo


Hosts Côte d’Ivoire are on the cusp of a fifth Africa Cup of Nations Final appearance, while DR Congo are aiming to reach a first final since 1974.

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There may be two AFCON semi-finals taking place on Wednesday, but the entire attention of the host nation is on this clash from Abidjan, where their team feel unbeatable.

When the final whistle was blown after their final group game, a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire believed they were out, so much so that head coach Jean-Louis Gasset was sacked.

Les Éléphants ended up third in Group A with three points and a -3 goal difference but, 48 hours later, it transpired they had done enough to sneak through, courtesy of Morocco’s 1-0 win over Zambia.

Nevertheless, as a third-place finisher, Ivory Coast had to take on holders Senegal in the round of 16.

Emerse Faé's side found themselves 1-0 down after just four minutes in Yamoussoukro, on the brink of elimination, until Franck Kessié converted a spot-kick four minutes from time.

Ivory Coast then kept their cool, scoring all five of their penalties in the shootout, with Kessié's second spot-kick of the night seeing them through.

If you thought that was dramatic, just wait until you hear about Côte d’Ivoire’s quarter-final victory over Mali on Saturday.

Odilon Kossounou was sent off on the cusp of half time for a last-man foul, before Mali broke the deadlock with just 18 minutes to play, leaving them with a mountain to climb.

It remained 1-0 until stoppage time when a shot from Seko Fofana was blocked, but fell at the feat of Simon Adingra to poke home a dramatic equaliser.

Then, just as everyone was poised for penalties, Oumar Diakité's back-heal flick snatched victory, thereby sparking scenes of jubilation, so much so that the scorer was shown a second yellow for taking off his shirt.

So, despite ending the night with nine-men, les Éléphants had done it, with Ivorian supporters now very much believing their name is on the trophy.

Opponents DR Congo though will be no pushovers; having already taken out the record winners, can they now knock out the hosts?

In the round of 16, les Léopards overcame seven-times champions Egypt on penalties, with goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi converting the decisive spot-kick in San Pédro.

Then, on Friday, they ousted Guinea 3-1 in the quarter-finals, with Chancel Mbemba firing home an equaliser and Yoane Wissa converting a penalty before Arthur Masuaku cross-come-shot free-kick secured victory.

So, this is DR Congo’s sixth appearance in the last four, beaten by South Africa in ‘98 and Côte d’Ivoire in 2015 at this stage since they last got their hands on the trophy all the way back in 1974.

As mentioned, these two met in the semi-finals in Bata nine years ago, with Ivory Coast prevailing 3-1 en route to the title.

Roared on by a huge crowd at Stade Alassane Ouattara, we make the hosts slight favourites because, given what they’ve produced in the knockout phase already, you can’t back against them, can you?

Ivory Coast to qualify and both teams to score

This clash at Stade Olympique d’Ébimpé is very tough to call, so we can certainly see extra time and possibly even penalties being required to seperate them, as has been the case in both of Ivory Coast’s knockout ties already.

Their most-recent competitive encounter did end as a 2-2 draw, this coming in Oyem at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, as DR Congo made it through the group phase and Côte d’Ivoire did not.

Overall, both teams have scored in each of their last ten encounters, a streak that dates back to the 1965 Cup of Nations, with these clashes producing 38 goals.

Les Éléphants have only failed to score in three of their last 16 internationals, while both teams have scored in five of les Léopards’ last six outings.

So, we could see possibly a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, with Ivory Coast sneaking through in Abidjan, backed by an enormous, partisan crowd.

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Ivory Coast to qualify and both teams to score

Côte d'Ivoire vs DR Congo

Sébastien Haller to score anytime

Sébastien Haller has not featured prominently at this tournament due to injury, coming off the bench in the 72nd minute against Senegal, before being introduced at half time in Bouaké on Saturday.

Since switching allegiance from France in November 2020, Haller has scored eight times in just 24 appearances for les Éléphants, netting on his debut and then against Sierra Leone at the most-recent AFCON.

Potentially leading the attack from the start here, flanked by Nicolas Pépé and Max-Alain Gradel, we’re backing Haller to come to the fore and fire his nation into Sunday’s final.

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Sébastien Haller to score anytime

Côte d'Ivoire vs DR Congo

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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".