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Sunday, March 3, 2024
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TODAY AT AFCON

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Guinea Bissau vs Nigeria 5pm – Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast 5pm – Cape Verde vs Egypt 8pm

Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Guinea-Bissau look to close out the group stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a win.

The upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 match between Guinea Bissau and Nigeria is scheduled to be a highly anticipated clash in the tournament.

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The match will take place today at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with kick-off set for 5pm.

Guinea Bissau

They have experienced a challenging run in the tournament, marked by a series of losses (D-W-L-L-L). Their recent 4-2 defeat to Equatorial Guinea has considerably hampered their chances of progressing. The likely lineup for Guinea Bissau could be in a 4-3-3 formation featuring Djoco; Encada, S. Mane, Djalo, Cande; Cassama, Bikel, Semedo; Rodrigues, Balde, Carlos Mane.

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Nigeria

The Super Eagles have had a mixed set of results but managed a crucial win against Ivory Coast recently, changing their form to D-D-L-D-W. Their predicted lineup might be a 3-4-3 formation with Nwabili; Bassey, Troost-Ekong, Ajayi; Omeruo, Iwobi, Onyeka, Aina; Lookman, Osimhen, Chukwueze.

Marcelo Amado Djalo Taritolay of Guinea Bissau is a notable player in their defence, bringing European experience to the team.

Victor Osimhen from Nigeria has been outstanding, especially with his performance in Serie A, and his agility and scoring ability will be crucial for Nigeria.

Guinea Bissau vs Nigeria head-to-head record and rivalry

The two teams have faced each other three times in the past, with Nigeria winning two of those encounters and Guinea Bissau winning one. There are no draws recorded between them.

Team news

Guinea Bissau seems to have no significant injury concerns

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Alhassan Yusuf might return after missing the game against Ivory Coast due to injury. Zaidu Sanusi is expected to continue playing in his place if needed.

Nigeria appears to be the favourite, given their recent form and Guinea Bissau’s struggles. The prediction for the match is a 0-3 win in favour of Nigeria.

Nigeria vs G.Bissau

Possible Outcomes: A win for Nigeria is widely predicted by experts, considering their form and past performance. The odds might favour Nigeria both for winning and possibly keeping a clean sheet.

Both teams will be aiming for a win, with Guinea Bissau looking to salvage some pride and Nigeria seeking to solidify their position in the tournament.

Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast 5pm

The hosts of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations are hoping to cement their place in the knockout stage, but Ivory Coast still have work to do when they face Equatorial Guinea at Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara on Monday.

Their 1-0 defeat to Nigeria on Matchday 2 was a blow, but thanks to their opening win over Guinea-Bissau, they are still well placed to go through considering four of the six third-place teams in the tournament will advance.

It bodes well for the Elephants though that they have not lost consecutive AFCON games since February 2008 (vs Egypt and Ghana in the semi-finals and third-place play-off respectively). They also haven’t lost two games in an AFCON group stage since 2002.

Jean-Louis Gasset’s men were disappointing against Nigeria, though, having more shots (14-11) but recording a much lower expected goals total (0.57-1.72). William Troost-Ekong’s winning penalty did aid that number for the Super Eagles.

Ivory Coast will not want to match their own unwanted record. Their loss to Nigeria was the first time a host nation has lost a group stage match at the Africa Cup of Nations since 2012, when Monday’s opponents Equatorial Guinea lost 1-0 to Zambia. Only one host nation has ever lost two AFCON group games, and that was Ivory Coast back in 1984.

They will once again look to Jérémie Boga for inspiration. The Nice winger is either top or joint-top for chances created (4), expected assists (0.28), passes played into the box (10), dribbles attempted (5) and successful crosses (4) among his Ivory Coast teammates.

Equatorial Guinea come into their final Group A game on a high after beating Guinea-Bissau. The 4-2 success came largely thanks to a hat-trick from former Middlesbrough and Birmingham City player Emilio Nsue.

In doing so, he became the oldest player to score a hat-trick at AFCON (34 years, 110 days) and the first to do so at any edition for 15 years and 362 days since Soufiane Alloudi in 2008 for Morocco against Namibia.

Head-to-head

This will be the third meeting between Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations. Equatorial Guinea will have faced Ivory Coast more times than any other opponent at the tournament, with the latter having won both previous encounters: 3-0 in 2012 (quarter-finals) and 1-0 in 2022 (group stage).

They are in the same group for the second consecutive AFCON. In 2022, they finished second and first respectively, with – as mentioned – Ivory Coast winning their meeting 1-0. Their only other clash was a 1-1 draw in a friendly in March 2015.

Prediction

A win will guarantee Ivory Coast a top-two place in Group A, and the Opta supercomputer is backing them to get it. The tournament hosts are given a 58.2% chance of victory, while Equatorial Guinea have just a 20.2% likelihood of recording their second win of AFCON 2023. The draw is rated at 21.6%.

In the week leading up to AFCON 2023, our pre-tournament predictions had Ivory Coast as second favourites to lift the trophy. Their chances have actually risen slightly since, despite their defeat to Nigeria.

With four points from their first two games, Equatorial Guinea have a near-certain chance of reaching the last 16 according to the supercomputer.

Cape Verde vs Egypt 8pm

Egypt will look to secure a place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations when they face off against Cape Verde in their final group-stage match at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Monday night.

GGG

With both matches in Group B kicking off simultaneously, The Pharaohs will see this as a must-win fixture, having only managed to earn two points from their opening two matches in the competition.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations has already been an incredible one for Cape Verde, and it is far from over, as they are assured of a place in the knockout rounds regardless of the outcome of this match.

The Blue Sharks got their cup campaign off to a dream start as they overcame a sloppy Ghana side 2-1, thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Ankaragucu forward Garry Rodrigues.

That gave Cape Verde a somewhat unexpected lead in the group standings after matchday one, but they followed that up with an even better performance last Thursday when they comprehensively overcame Mozambique 3-0 to secure the top spot with a match in hand.

EEE

Bubista’s side’s victory over The Mambas was just their fourth-ever victory at the AFCON and was also the first time that the team had ever won consecutive games in their history in the competition.

While the pressure may be off The Blue Sharks in this match, they will still want to claim another big scalp here, which will also see them head into the knockout stages with incredible momentum.

Meanwhile, Egypt have struggled to make an impact in the tournament thus far and it began when they played to a 2-2 draw against group outsiders Mozambique in their opening match last Sunday.

In the next match, The Pharaohs recorded another 2-2 draw, this time against Ghana, and many may argue that the point they received was somewhat fortuitous, with errors from The Black Stars contributing significantly to the final outcome.

Prior to those results, Egypt had not conceded more than a single goal in 11 AFCON matches, and it was the first time that they failed to win their first two matches in this competition since 1992.

The Pharaohs are now in a precarious position as they could find themselves knocked out of the competition if they lose here and one of Ghana or Mozambique win the other match in the group, which kicks off at the same time as this one.

Egypt have only ever failed to make it to the knockout stages once in their last 12 appearances in this competition, and their task will be that much more difficult without the services of their captain Mohamed Salah.

Team News

Bubista has sent out the same starting 11 in his side’s first two matches in this competition, but with qualification already secured, the Cape Verde coach may consider handing starts to a few of those who have had limited time to make an impact.

If that were to be the case, the likes of Gilson Tavares and Rodrigues are among the favourites to make the starting lineup, having featured off the bench in both matches in the competition so far.

For Egypt, the major talking point is around the exclusion of Salah, who sustained an injury against Ghana in the last match and is expected to miss at least the next two matches for Egypt, provided they qualify from the group.

The absence of the Liverpool talisman could see Mostafa Fathi take his place as he did after Salah was withdrawn in the last match, while Trezeguet will also be pushing for a starting role after a bright cameo off the bench last time out.

Cape Verde possible starting lineup:

Vozinha; Moreira, Costa, Lopes, Fernandes; Duarte, Pina, Monteiro; Mendes, Bebe, Cabral

Egypt possible starting lineup:

El Shenawy; Sharaf, Hegazy, Abdelmonem, Kamal; Fathi, Elneny; Trezeguet, Ashour, Marmoush; Mohamed

Other Fixture:

Mozambique vs Ghana 8pm

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