AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast face Equatorial Guinea test in final showdown


In a crucial Group A clash at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast are set to face off at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, with the fate of both teams hanging in the balance.

Equatorial Guinea, currently atop the group with four points, is gearing up to secure their automatic progression to the knockout stages after a 1-1 draw with Nigeria and an impressive 4-2 victory over Guinea-Bissau.

For Juan Michá’s Equatoguineans, a simple task lies ahead – avoid defeat to maintain their top-two position and extend their streak of qualifying for the knockout stages in every AFCON they’ve participated in. Their unbeaten run of 12 matches (W6, D6) reflects their formidable form, with captain Emilio Nsue leading the charge, having recently secured an AFCON hat-trick against Guinea-Bissau.

On the other side, Ivory Coast, sitting in third place, faces a more challenging scenario. After dispatching Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in the tournament opener, they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria. Jean-Louis Gasset’s side must now break Equatorial Guinea’s unbeaten streak to secure their spot in the next round or risk becoming only the second host nation in the last 15 AFCONs to be eliminated in the group stages.

Ivory Coast draws confidence from a four-game winning streak before the loss to Nigeria and their historical dominance in previous AFCON meetings with Equatorial Guinea. Midfielder Seko Fofana, with a perfect record of victory in all six of his national goalscoring appearances, remains a key player to watch.

As the showdown unfolds, both teams are aware of the high stakes, with Equatorial Guinea seeking to maintain their impressive run, while Ivory Coast aims to avoid an untimely exit on home soil. The clash promises to be a thrilling encounter as the battle for knockout stage qualification intensifies in Group A.

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