Ivory Coast will look to extend their overwhelming record against Mali when they face off in the Africa Cup of Nations' Round of 16 on July 8 at Suez Stadium, Egypt. Ivory Coast will come into this tie with a superb 4-1 victory against Namibia in their last group stage fixture.
Ibrahim Kamara was unable to find a fluid combination of XI players as Ivory Coast earned a scrappy 1-0 win against South Africa and lost by the same margin to Morocco in their opening two group stage matches. But the Elephants finally found a cohesive side which romped past the Brave Warriors.
The spirited Eagles will look to rectify their poor record against the Ivory Coast, failing to win against them in the last four games. Mohamed Magassouba insisted that the Malians will play to create history against the Ivorians saying,
"History is for historians,"
"We are footballers, not historians. At some point, everyone has to write their own story. Tomorrow is another page we will write and we hope to make the most of it.
"We have prepared a team to play at this tournament and we are convinced that we have quality.
"We are confident of continuing our adventure."
Key Match Facts
Mali won two matches in securing qualification from Group D, twice the number of victories they recorded in their 11 previous Africa Cup of Nations games.
Ivory Coast have beaten Mali in three of their four previous Africa Cup of Nations encounters, drawing the other.
Mali midfielder Diadie Samassekou finished the group stage with more interceptions (10) than any other player.
Magassouba's men are the only team to boast a greater number of individual goalscorers (six) at the tournament than Ivory Coast's five.
Last five matches, including all competitions.
Ivory Coast: W-L-W-L-W
Ibrahim Kamara will have a full 23-man squad at his disposal to choose his starting lineup against the Malians. Also, none of the Ivory Coast members will be absent due to suspensions.
Ibrahim Kamara will try to make a few changes as possible to the side which performed well against Namibia. It is almost certain that Ivory Coast will lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jonathan Kodjia leading the line for them.
Mamadou Bagayoko will fill the right-back slot in Serge Aurier's absence due to injury with Wonlo Coulibaly placed on the opposite flank. Ismael Traore and Wilfried Kanon will partner for the central defensive role.
Sylvain Gbohouo is set to feature in his fourth AFCON game for Ivory Coast between the sticks.
Predicted XI(4-2-3-1): Sylvain Gbohouo; Mamadou Bagayoko, Ismael Traore, Wilfried Kanon, Wonlo Coulibaly; Serey Die, Franck Kessie; Max Gradel, Nicolas Pepe, Wilfried Zaha; Jonathan Kodija
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