Perhaps the pick of the Africa Cup of Nations’ round of 16 ties comes on Wednesday as seven-time champions Egypt face an Ivory Coast side that cut an impressive path to the knockout stages in Douala. Certainly, it will not be a game short on attacking firepower with Mohamed Salah against the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Sebastien Haller and Nicolas Pepe.
Egypt have won 10 of their 15 meetings with the Ivorians AFCON qualifiers and finals matches, but if they are to continue that impressive record they will need to improve significantly on their showings in the group stages, where they scored just twice in finishing behind Nigeria. The firepower is there but this promises to be a real test for the Pharaohs. Here is how you can watch and what you need to know:
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 26 | Time: 11 a.m. ET
Location: Stade Omnisport — Douala, Omnisport
TV: beIN Sports | Live stream: fuboTV — Try for free
Odds: Ivory Coast +120; Draw +180; Egypt +270 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Ivory Coast: Do not expect significant changes to be made by Patrice Beaumelle from the team he played last time out. Why would he when his side have just crushed holders Algeria in a dominant all around display? Ibrahim Sangare and Franck Kessie controlled midfield whilst in attack Pepe ran riot, the Arsenal forward scoring his second goal of the competition to go with an assist as well.
Meanwhile, on the left flank Ghislain Konan of Reims looks to be a hugely effective means of advancing the Ivorians up the pitch, getting the ball into positions where the attackers can cause damage. In short this is a well balanced side, one that looks like real contenders with weapons across the pitch. Can they live up to the building hype?
Egypt: Carlos Quieroz’s side are not prompting anywhere near as much excitement, no wonder when Salah has so far struggled to make his mark on the tournament. In the opening game against Nigeria the Liverpool forward was double-teamed off the ball. He would subsequently score against Guinea-Bisseau but AFCON has not seen the best of one of the world’s greatest forwards just yet.
“We have to fight in this very difficult tournament,” Salah said last week. “All the teams know how to play football and they have many players in Europe.We must believe in our abilities and our chances, fight as much as we can and see where we go in the tournament.”
Form is on Ivory Coast’s side and although Egypt have one dangerous weapon Beaumelle can call on several potential match-winners. PICK: Ivory Coast 2 Egypt 0