Mali and Equatorial Guinea will play the concluding match of the Africa Cup of Nations last 16 on Wednesday, 26 January, at the Limbe Stadium. Both countries have played incredible matches in the CAF qualifiers, and their performances have wowed fans, analysts, and media.
Mali hopes to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013 when they finished third in South Africa. The team is top of Group F with seven points after winning two games and drawing one. They finished ahead of Gambia and Tunisia, who both made it to the last eight.
The foundation of the team’s success in the tournament has been their defence. The team keeps their structure when defending, and their compact game has helped them keep two clean sheets and only concede one goal.
In the middle of the park, Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma have brought stability to the team. Ibrahima Kone has been leading the line-up front well and has scored in all three group stage matches.
Equatorial Guinea has been a marvel to watch and finished as the runner up to the Ivory Coast in Group E. In their first match, they lost to Ivory Coast but scored historic wins over Algeria and Sierra Leone. The team has kept four clean sheets from their last five games and will be looking to make it three wins in a row when they face Mali.
These two teams have managed to qualify for the knockout stages easily, and the match will be a close encounter as they go head-to-head.
Equatorial Guinea will be the underdogs on Wednesday, which works in their favour. They are a well-coached team, play fearless football, and won’t change their approach to meeting Mali.
Mali, on the other hand, is also determined to make this one of their best AFCON tournaments ever. They have delivered solid performances and will want to continue with that trend on Wednesday. Our free football prediction is that Mali should make it to the last eight with a 2-0 win over Equatorial Guinea.
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