Ivory Coast faces Egypt in the African Cup of Nations 1/8 finals. The match will be played on Wednesday, January 26th at Japoma Stadium (Douala)
Ivory Coast reached the 1/8 finals of the African Cup of Nations after taking first place in Group E. The Elephants earned seven points in three rounds of the group stage. In general, they did not experience big problems with obtaining a ticket to the playoffs. Ivory Coast was among the eight teams that avoided defeat in the group stage of this tournament. In the 1st round, the Elephants gained a minimal victory over Equatorial Guinea (1-0), but then they missed three points in the game against Sierra Leone (2-2), allowing the opponents to level the score in the 93rd minute. But in the final match of Group E, the Ivorians dealt with the current trophy holders from the Algerian national team (3-1) and deprived them of the playoffs.
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The national team of Egypt made it to the playoffs from 2nd place in Group D, where they scored six points in three matches. The Pharaohs were less productive in the group stage. They started their performances at the African Cup of Nations with a defeat to another favorite of the group, Nigeria (0-1). In the next two rounds, Mohamed Salah and his partners overcame the resistance of Guinea Bissau and Sudan with the same score of 1-0, ensuring participation in the playoffs with only two goals scored.
Head-to-head confrontations between the Elephants and the Pharaohs have been a rare event in recent years. The teams have not crossed paths since January 2013, when they played a friendly match in Abu Dhabi (UAE). That game was won by the Ivorians with a score of 4-2. These teams have not crossed paths in official tournaments since February 2008, when they had to meet in the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations. The Egyptians, who became the winners of that tournament, hammered the Elephants with a 4-1 score. Now the chances of the Ivorians to advance to the next round are higher. Their squad is stuffed with representatives of clubs from the European top five leagues. Patrice Beaumelle can count on such famous players as Eric Bailly, Serge Aurier, Franck Kessie, Nicolas Pepe, Sebastien Haller, and Wilfried Zaha. The Elephants have reserves to strengthen the game, and this will be an important trump card in the confrontation with the Pharaohs. The Egyptians, who looked faded in the group stage, are dependent on their main star, Mohamed Salah. However, the leader of Liverpool is not in the best shape. This significantly reduces the chances of Queiroz’s men for success and actually dooms them to relegation from the tournament.