Football Tips

Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off Betting Tips & Predictions: South Africa vs DR Congo


It’s the match that no one ever wants to be involved in but, after South Africa and DR Congo enjoyed memorable runs at this Africa Cup of Nations, both are determined to leave with bronze medals to show for their efforts.

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These two teams were both beaten in semi-finals in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night, so who will be able to regroup and prevail in this third-place play-off at Le Félicia?

In Wednesday’s early kick off, South Africa were big underdogs again Nigeria, especially when the Super Eagles took the lead mid-way through the second half at Stade de la Paix.

It appeared to be all over when Nigeria went 2-0 up, only for the goal to be chalked off for a foul in the build-up, that had actually occurred in the opposite penalty area meaning, instead of conceding, Bafana Bafana had a spot-kick just as the clock struck 90.

Teboho Mokoena kept his cool and equalised in Bouaké, thereby forcing extra time, during which very little happened, meaning a penalty shootout was required.

Hugo Broos’ side had defeated Cape Verde on penalties in the quarter-finals, with captain Ronwen Williams saving four of the five spot-kicks he faced in that one, but he was unable to repeat these heroics.

Both Mokoena, who’d forced extra time in the first place, and then Evidence Makgopa saw their attempts from 12 yards denied, meaning it was Nigeria who advanced through to the final.

Despite this heartbreak, it’s defiantly been a successful tournament for South Africa, reaching a first semi-final since 2000, most-notably dumping out Morocco en route, so can they end on a high in Abidjan?

DR Congo meantime took on hosts Côte d’Ivoire in Wednesday’s second semi-final at Stade Olympique d’Ébimpé.

In a game of few chances, les Éléphants broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, with les Léopards unable to find an equaliser so, much to the delight of the huge home crowd, Ivory Coast got through.

DR Congo won this competition in both 1968 and 1972, but have lost all three semi-final in which they’ve featured subsequently, previously beaten by South Africa themselves in ‘98 and Ivory Coast again in 2015.

Nevertheless, after overcoming Egypt on penalties and then Guinea, Sébastien Desabre’s side have gone further than anyone would’ve expected, hoping to pick up bronze medals.

These two have only ever met five times previously, with Bafana Bafana winning both previous AFCON encounters, 2-1 in Ouagadougou in ‘98 and 1-0 in Kumasi two years later, also 1-0 winners when the pair clashed in a friendly in Johannesburg as recently as September.

Given that this is a third-place play-off, this rematch at Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny is tough to call, but we see DR Congo’s quality, as well as their strength-in-depth, getting them over the line.

DR Congo to finish third

DR Congo have won both their last two appearance in the third-place play-off, beating hosts Burkina Faso on penalties in 1998, following a 4-4 draw in Ouagadougou, before again defeating the hosts on penalties in 2015, this a victory over Equatorial Guinea in Malabo.

South Africa’s only previous appearance in the bronze medal match came in 2000, also prevailing on penalties, defeating Tunisia in Accra following a 2-2 draw.

Hugo Broos has made the fewest changes to his XI of any manager at this tournament (5) so, if he does heavily rotate for this one, he’ll be putting in rusty players who’ve seen little action.

On the flip side, Sébastien Desabre has some serious top-end talent at his disposal, namely Cédric Bakambu and Yoane Wissa up front, hence why we give the edge to les Léopards.

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DR Congo to finish third

South Africa vs DR Congo

Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Two years ago, the third-place play-off between Cameroon and Burkina Faso saw the hosts come from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in Yaoundé, before prevailing in the subsequent shootout.

Since 1984, ten of the 19 third-place games have seen both teams scored and over 2.5 goals, five of which have gone to penalties, so perhaps we’ll go the distance at Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny.

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Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

South Africa 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".