Africa Cup of Nations is starting, and the fans across the world will have a chance to see one of the most exciting sporting events. As usual, several teams are coming to this tournament with high hopes, and among them are Ivory Coast and South Africa. The two nations will clash in the opening round of Group D. Without any doubts this is the game of the day, and the most tempting match for betting. We are here to give you a quick preview, followed by few betting tips.
Ivory Coast didn’t spend too much power during the qualifications for ACN. They finished second in Group H behind Guinea, keeping the players fresh and healthy for this tournament. Ibrahim Kamara’s guys are in an excellent form having just one defeat in the previous 10 matches, and that happened against Uganda seven days ago, 0-1. Still, the Elephants bounced back very quickly, smashing Zambia 4-1, four days after that, successfully passing the last test before heading for Egypt. When looking names, this team is loaded with potential. The majority of their crew plays for the clubs based in top Europan leagues. The stars are Serge Aurier from Tottenham, Maxwel Cornet from Lyon, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie, and of course former Premiership veteran Wilfried Bony. Ivory Coast likes to play hard and physical football, with a lot of contacts, and there isn’t a rule regarding the efficiency of their matches. Sometimes we see an extremely high number of goals and on other occasions, just one or even none.
Bafana had a nice opportunity to create positive chemistry in the recently ended COSAFA Cup. They had three matches there, followed by a goalless draw against Ghana, which was the last test for Stuart Baxter’s guys. His team didn’t lose in 12 straight matches when looking only regular 90 minutes, and South Africa ended their qualifications for this tournament without a loss with three wins and draws apiece. What is the main characteristic of Bafana, is one hell of a defense. During the qualifiers, South Africa allowed only two goals, and if examining the latest 10 games, we can see that in six of them, Baxter’s crew kept clean sheets. The same number saw under 2.5 goals, and even the ones who went above that limit were against weak sides, like Seychelles for example. Unlike many of the teams in this tournament, South Africa has the majority of their squad made from domestic players. Only five guys are coming from Europe. Among them, the biggest name is Thulani Serero, member of the Dutch team Vitesse.
Head to Head
The two sides haven’t met often in the near past. To be exact, we found only three head-to-head games. Two of them were friendly, in 2011 when we saw a draw, 1-1, and in 2014 when South Africa won 2-0. They also encountered back in 1998 at the Africa cup of Nations, and it was 1-1 once again.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that this game isn’t going to see many goals. There are two reasons for that. The first is the style of play on both sides. They are defensive-minded units who like to protect their goal first and then to attack. As we already said, South Africa has one of the best defenses in the tournament. The second reason is the fact that this game is an opener for both of them. Nobody would like to lose, and a draw wouldn’t be considered as a failure. Because of that under 2.5 goals is our first choice with the odds at 0.59, which is a solid offer.