Africa Cup of Nations – Ivory Coast v DR Congo Preview (20/1/17)

Ivory Coast preview

The pre season tournament favourites looked extremely flat in their opener against Togo. They could only draw 0-0 and in all truth there was nothing unlucky about that outcome. The Elephants struggled to create anything much against the group minnows. Togo weren’t tested much and the Ivorians played the game at a low pace with no urgency. On the plus side, the 2015 champions did look solid at the back. They have some really strong defenders who are hard to break down. You would back them to keep a clean sheet against most sides in this tournament. The attacking trio of Zaha, Kalou & Kodjia didn’t really combine well in the previous match and there’s some talk that target man upfront Wilfried Bony might be drafted into the side.

DR Congo preview

Some might say they were lucky to beat Morocco last time out. But defensively the Leopards did a good enough job against a lacklustre Morocco and were clinical when it mattered. DRC only had four shots in the entire match and they are unlikely to have many more in this fixture. Key defender and leader at the back Gabriel Zakuani is rated doubtful with injury. It’d be a boost if he was passed fit due to the presence he gives them. The right back Mutmabala who got sent off against Morocco was only a substitute and won’t be missed. Fabrice N'Sakala is the main starter in that position. I would fully expect DRC to park a double decker bus! They would love a 0-0 draw and their aim will be to frustrate CIV as long as possible.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is going to be a close game of football if the Ivory Coast play like they did the other day. A big improvement is expected of them, but I’m not totally convinced. The attack force just doesn’t look potent enough for my liking and a lack of goals is a massive concern. If they did raise their levels significantly then the possibility exists of a comfortable victory. However, DRC will keep things tight and be hard to break down. Côte D’Ivoire might need a moment of brilliance and something special to find the back of the net. Again, this isn’t impossible because the Elephants possess some fine technical players. I strongly considered backing under 2 goals @ around the 2.0 mark, but in the end totally bottled the chance! I’m just not a fan of backing unders but this feels like the right selection. My gut feeling is that the Ivory Coast will find a way to win the game 1-0 or something, but I couldn't back them with any great confidence.

Prediction: Ivory Coast 1-0 DR Congo

Recommended bet: None