Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Africa Cup of Nations Preview: Mali vs. Equatorial Guinea Round of 16

Africa Cup of Nations Preview: Mali vs. Equatorial Guinea Round of 16

Closing out the Round of 16, Mali face off against Equatorial Guinea. The Eagles have yet to taste defeat but face a history of struggling to make the quarter-finals, while the National Thunder have nothing to prove, but search for another upset.

Who will progress and who will bow out with pride having made it further than many imagined?

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Africa Cup of Nations: Round of 16
Wednesday 26 January 
Limbe Stadium 
21:00

To Win (90 mins)
Mali 15/20
Draw 2/1
Equatorial Guinea 39/10

To Qualify
Mali 3/10
Equatorial Guinea 9/4

Mali

Mali can be proud of their performances to date. The West African’s kicked off the tournament with a hard-earned win over quarter-final contenders Tunisia. However, a shock draw to AFCON debutants Gambia followed shortly after in matchday two. Four points from two fixtures could have easily put them into the next round, but the Eagles set high standards for themselves.

In the final fixture of the group stages, Mali came out flying with a point to prove and a chance to top Group F. An early goal inside the 2nd minute of their clash with Mauritania was sure to get the ball rolling for the team, and again, early in the second half, Ibrahim Kone converted a penalty to score his second of the campaign and secure Mali’s dominance.

Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo will be back in the squad after serving his suspension and will be eager to earn the trust of his teammates, coach and nations’ support once again and the midfield trio with Adama Traore and Yves Bissouma can recommence.

Head coach Mohamed Magassouba knows the struggles that Mali have faced in knockout stages – without a win a since 2013 – when they got passed South Africa via penalties.

The Malians will feel confident having drawn Equatorial Guinea having beaten them in the last three meetings.

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Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea has shown they can be competitive with the big boys. A recent World Cup qualifier victory over Tunisia, and now a win over Algeria preceded by a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Ivory Coast, the central African side will be confident in their chances.

In their last fixture against Sierra Leone, National Thunder struck again, claiming another three points and deservedly so. Head coach Juan Micha was able to secure six points and finish just one behind Ivory Coast.

Equatorial Guinea head into the clash with Mali with one narrow defeat and with the knowledge of being defeated by their next opponents in the last three meetings and the minds of the players, staff and fans alike will be channeling everything into finding victory in the closing fixture of the Round of 16 on Wednesday night.

Having played a part in all three fixtures of the group stages, 20-year-old forward Dorian Hanza is a major doubt after leaving the field of play early in their last encounter. But the backline have showed quality in their fixtures, and despite being young, both Basilio Ndong, 23, and Carlos Akpo, 28, will martial the defence with a combined 50 plus caps.

Prediction: Mali (15/20)

While the young team of Equatorial Guinea have come far having faced Algeria and Ivory Coast already, Mali’s determination and cohesion might just prove a tougher matchup than their previous opponents. Mali are undefeated and I feel they will remain so, having a more experienced and higher quality line-up.

Written by Joshua Gaillard