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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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TODAY AT AFCON 2024

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Burkina Faso vs Mali 17hrs

Group E Winners Mali will look to continue their solid AFCON 2023 with further progression in this tie with Burkina Faso on Tuesday. Topping the group ahead of South Africa, Namibia and Tunisia, Mali conceded just once in their three games, while goalkeeper Djigui Diarra showed solid form as he saved seven of the eight shots on target he faced (88%).

Mali’s best finish was at the 1972 Nations Cup, when they finished second largely due to some stout defending. Focusing on defence over attack might be their best bet for success this time around, too.

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Auxerre forward Lassine Sinayoko scored in Mali’s opening two group games versus South Africa and Tunisia but was kept out by Namibia on Matchday 3 despite having a higher expected goals (xG) total than any other player on the pitch (0.48). He’ll be a big threat to a Burkina Faso defence that was breached four times in their last two games versus Algeria and Angola in Group D.

Mali Squad
DOUALA, CAMEROON – JANUARY 20: Mali team pose for a team picture at Japoma Stadium on January 20, 2022 in Douala, Cameroon. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images).

The Stallions progressed to this stage of the competition after finishing as runners-up to Angola in the group stage, knocking out one of the pre-tournament favourites Algeria in the process. Two of their three group goals came via the experienced Bertrand Traoré, which takes his overall Afcon tournament tally to four goals – the only player with more in the competition for Burkina Faso is Alain Traoré, who scored five times between 2012 and 2017.

 Head-to-head

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This will be just the second match between Burkina Faso and Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations. The previous match occurred at the 2004 edition, when Mali defeated Burkina Faso 3-1 in the second group match in Tunis.

Mali eventually went on to reach the semi-finals that year, before losing to Morocco 4-0. They finished in fourth place after a 2-1 play-off defeat to Nigeria.

Prediction

The Opta supercomputer saw Mali win this tie inside 90 minutes on 46.3% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations, compared to a 28.6% win rate by Burkina Faso.

Before a ball was kicked at AFCON 2023, the Opta supercomputer rated Mali and Burkina Faso as outsiders for the tournament, but with nations like Algeria, Tunisia and Ghana now out, their chances have increased as we enter the knockout stages.

Here are the current tournament projections for both Mali and Burkina Faso as things stand:

Squads

Mali: Djigui Diarra, Aboubacar Doumbia, Ismaël Diawara, Mamadou Fofana I, Kiki Kouyaté, Sikou Niakaté, Hamari Traoré, Amadou Danté, Falaye Sacko, Moussa Diarra, Lassana Coulibaly, Adama Traoré, Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haidara, Aliou Dieng, Diadié Samassékou, Kamory Doumbia, Boubacar Traoré, Mohamed Camara, Moussa Doumbia, Sékou Koïta, Fousseni Diabaté, Ibrahim Sissoko, Lassine Sinayoko, Siriné Doucouré, Youssoufou Niakaté, Nene Dorgeles.

Coach: Éric Chelle

Burkina Faso: Hervé Koffi, Hillel Konaté, Kilian Nikièma, Sébastien Tou, Edmond Tapsoba, Steeve Yago, Issoufou Dayo, Valentin Nouma, Abdoul Guiébré, Adamo Nagalo, Nasser Djiga, Issa Kaboré, Blati Touré, Bertrand Traoré, Gustavo Sangaré, Sacha Bansé, Mamady Bangré, Cédric Badolo, Ismahila Ouédraogo, Dramane Salou, Adama Guira, Djibril Ouattara, Mohamed Konaté, Abdoul Tapsoba, Aziz Ki, Hassane Bandé, Dango Ouattara.

Coach: Hubert Velud

MOROCCO VS SOUTH AFRICA 20HRS

Giant-killing was the name of the game in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations group stage, with Tunisia, Algeria and Ghana all going home early while a few others escaped near-misses; Morocco will be wary of the many shocks as they enter the knockouts with a last-16 duel with South Africa.

Pic 1

Morocco may not have been spectacular in Group F, but their progression as section winners was pretty comfortable. No team in the tournament conceded fewer goals than their solitary concession against DR Congo, they trailed at no point in their three games, and their seven points was bettered by only Senegal (9).

Coincidentally, Senegal (23.7%) are now – at the time of writing – the only side considered to have a better chance of going all the way than Morocco (17.2%), which is probably partly helped by the fact the earliest they can face each other is in the final.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, however. Although Morocco’s progress through the group was largely comfortable on the face of it, they rode their luck against DR Congo on Matchday 2 and were hugely wasteful in the 1-0 win over Zambia.

South Africa may not be strongest opposition they could face in the tournament, but Bafana Bafana did commendably hold Tunisia to a 0-0 draw and beat Namibia 4-0 in Group E.

Prior to those two clean sheets, they had only recorded a pair of shutouts in their previous 11 Afcon games. Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams proved dependable in the group stage, preventing 1.8 goals (according to Opta’s xGOT metric), the third best of any keeper.

They will likely require him to be at the top of his game again considering Morocco have scored in each of their last 12 Afcon games.

The Atlas Lions were due to be without the influence of head coach Walid Regragui on the touchline once again; he was handed a four-match ban – two of which were suspended for a year – after his alleged role in ugly post-match scenes at the end of the draw with DR Congo, forcing him to watch the Zambia win from the stands. However, it was confirmed on Sunday that the ban and his fine have been overturned following a successful appeal, meaning Regragui will be back in the dugout on Tuesday.

Whoever emerges victorious from this clash will face either Cape Verde or Mauritania in the quarter-finals.

Head-to-head

Morocco and South Africa are certainly not strangers to each other at this level; this will be their sixth meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Bafana Bafana have the historical edge, having only lost one of those five previous encounters, though Morocco were victorious in the most recent duel, winning 1-0 in the 2019 group stage.

The only previous AFCON knockout match between Morocco and South Africa was in the 1998 quarter-final, a 2-1 victory for the latter in Burkina Faso.

Prediction

The Opta supercomputer expects Morocco to emerge from this tie; they won 56.1% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations in 90 minutes.

South Africa came out on top in just 22.2% of the simulations, meaning 21.7% of them went to extra time and potentially penalties. When taking into account the possibility of the game being settled beyond 90 minutes, Morocco’s overall chance of progression is 67.8% according to the supercomputer.

Below you’ll find the current, up-to-date chances of progression through to the next round in the ‘bracket’ tab, plus each team’s probability of winning the title in the ‘table’ tab:

Squads

Morocco: Munir Mohamedi, Yassine Bounou, Mehdi Benabid, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saïss, Chadi Riad, Yahya Attiat-Allah, Abdel Abqar, Yunis Abdelhamid, Noussair Mazraoui, Mohamed Chibi, Sofyan Amrabat, Hakim Ziyech, Amir Richardson, Selim Amallah, Oussama El Azzouzi, Amine Harit, Azzedine Ounahi, Bilal El Khannouss, Sofiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Abde Ezzalzouli, Ismael Saibari, Tarik Tissoudali, Amine Adli, Ayoub El Kaabi.

Coach: Walid Regragui

South Africa: Ronwen Williams, Ricardo Goss, Veli Mothwa, Siyanda Xulu, Tapelo Xoki, Khuliso Mudau, Mothobi Mvala, Nyiko Mobbie, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Terrence Mashego, Thapelo Morena, Grant Kekana, Themba Zwane, Teboho Mokoena, Sibongiseni Mthethwa, Thabang Monare, Aubrey Modiba, Oswin Appollis, Sphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams, Thapelo Maseko, Elias Mokwana, Percy Tau, Evidence Makgopa, Iqraam Rayners, Zakhele Lepasa, Mihlali Mayambela.

Coach: Hugo

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