Host Nation Ivory Coast will be looking to book their place in the knockout stages. The host team was left in a vulnerable position after the Elephants’ devastating 1-0 loss to Nigeria. They then faced the formidable Nzalang Nacional, who defeated Guinea-Bissau with much fanfare in the second round.
Preview (Equatorial Guinea vs. Ivory Coast)
Nzalang Nacional’s thrilling 4-2 victory over Guinea-Bissau in their second AFCON 2023 match has all but guaranteed them a spot in the group. The 34-year-old Emilio Nsue was the star of the match. He became the first player at the regional championship to score three goals in a single game. Juan Micha’s team needs a point from Monday’s match to guarantee a berth in the knockout stages. They have already secured four points from two games. Equatorial Guinea should have confidence in their ability to maintain their 13-game unbeaten streak. They have avoided defeat since falling to Tunisia 4-0 in qualification.
It is now up to the Nzalang Nacional players to rise to the challenge against the home team. Micha has already pledged that his team will exhibit the same fervor and passion from the Guinea-Bissau victory. The main cause for Jean-Louis Gasset’s dissatisfaction with Ivory Coast’s second-game loss to the Nigerian Super Eagles was his team’s startling incapacity to come up with answers for José Peseiro’s tactical change. The three-time African champions shifted to a five-player defense. In the 1-0 defeat, the Elephants seldom created any meaningful scoring opportunities.
Ivory Coast’s propensity to shoot from low-value positions when they were unable to penetrate the Super Eagles’ well-organized rearguard, with Seko Fofana being especially guilty, further tarnished the second half. As of this writing, Groups D, E, and F have not yet finished their second round of games. Gasset’s team is currently in third position in Group A, which is sufficient to proceed as one of the best third-placed teams in the competition.
Nsue, the team’s top scorer right now, is anticipated to lead the Equatoguineans as they look to win another championship in the continental showcase. Simon Adingra and Sebastian Haller, who missed Ivory Coast’s matches against Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria due to injuries, may or may not be able to play in Monday’s decisive Group A match. No player at AFCON 2023 has ever surpassed Fofana’s four shot-ending carries. If the Elephants are losing the game, the midfield player needs to refrain from rash plays. Former AC Milan player Franck Kessie should be essential to the home team’s possession game. He has already produced a tie-high four chances.
Equatorial Guinea 1-1 Ivory Coast
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