Date: January 24th, 2015
Venue: Nuevo Estadio de Malabo
City: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 18:00 (CAT)
Form Guide: (Last 3 Qualifiers): Ivory Coast LWD
October 15th: Ivory Coast 3 – 4 DR Congo
November 14th: Sierra Leone 1 – 5 Ivory Coast
November 19th: Ivory Coast 0 – 0 Cameroon
Form Guide: (Last 3 Qualifiers): Mali LLW
October 15th: Mali 2 – 3 Ethiopia
November 15th: Malawi 2 – 0 Mali
November 19th: Mali 2 – 0 Algeria
The Grand Stand Prediction:
The Elephants have continued to show a lack of consistent class throughout the qualifiers and it seems to have manifested itself into a dire lack of form at the start of the tournament, for a nation desperately seeking to add to their sole African Cup of Nations title after years of disappointment by a talented crop of players; the Ivorian national side is truly in need of a great performance now more than ever, many of their fans would even take a scrappy yet hard fought victory or two if it means that their side will finally have the motivation to kick on and get going in this tournament. A tweak of tactics and a change in personnel could just allow us to see a more purposeful and determined Ivorian unit take to the field and deliver the type of performance we have waited for with baited breath.
This experienced Malian side has come into the tournament with a desire to kick on from their two 3rd place finishes in the previous campaigns; a run to the final has been something many of the more senior players have been seeking to go on before bowing off the international stage. It will be entertaining to watch the defensively solid Malians, who have developed a nice attacking edge about them recently, test their mantle against an underperforming Ivory Coast outfit with a lot to play for. The Eagles will know that their opponents are there for the taking, they could just turn up with a greater desire to attack earlier than we are accustomed to see them doing; we could just see one of the more open games of the tournament with the young Ivorian defence receiving one of their sternest tests yet.
The two nations have much to play for, knowing that all the teams in the tournament still have an equal chance at progressing or being obliged to pack their bags for a flight out of Equatorial Guinea; the game will be one for the neutrals to enjoy, packed with just the right balance of expectancy and talent to make for a thrilling encounter.
Scoreline Predictions: #GSVPredictor
Uncle Bob’s Prediction: Ivory Coast 2 – 1 Mali
SportsMano’s Prediction: Ivory Coast 1 – 1 Mali
Mary’s Prediction: Ivory Coast 1 – 0 Mali