Ivory Coast vs DR Congo
2017 Africa Cup of Nations
Today, 17:00 pm (GMT+1)
Stade Oyem, Oyem (GAB)
The defending African Cup of Nations champions will look to cement their place in the knockout phase of the 2017 competition with victory here, although they will find the Democratic Republic of Congo to be a more than worth adversary.
In the past decade or so the Ivory Coast have really begun to show their undoubted quality on the biggest stage, with a semi-final appearance in 2008 backed by two losses in finals in 2006 and 2012. The breakthrough, at long last, came in 2015, when they lifted the trophy after seeing off Ghana in a nail-biting penalty shootout.
This is not a tournament that the Congolese generally excel in, although ironically that 2015 renewal marked their best showing for quite some time in AFCON: they eventually went down 1-3 in the semi-finals to their opponents here.
1. Betting Odds
So have DR Congo got the quality for the ultimate revenge performance, or will Cote D’Ivoire bag their second victory over them in the space of two AFCON renewals?
As the reigning champions and bookmakers’ favourite to defend their crown, it is no surprise to see the Ivory Coast installed as a comfortable favourite here at 1.80 with bet365.
But DR Congo are far from no-hopers – as their price of 5.50 with the same bookie shows. The draw can be backed at 3.10.
2. Ivory Coast v DR Congo - Where the Money Is?
After fumbling their way through the group stage in 2015, Ivory Coast really kicked on in the knockout phase with a pair of 3-1 victories over Algeria and Congo respectively. The final was a rather fraught affair, but the Ivorians showed their class and composure to win an epic shootout 9-8.
Key figures in that campaign included Yaya and Kolo Toure and Gervinho, a trio that will be absent in Gabon, and with Didier Drogba also hanging up his boots internationally the Ivorians need new heroes to step into the breach if they are to justify their position as bookmakers’ favourites.
There is lots of quality in this squad however, with the exciting Wilfried Zaha joined by the likes of Salomon Kalou and Wilfried Bony in attack, with Geoffrey Serey Die and the outstanding young talent Franck Kessie keeping an eye on things in midfield. At the back, the impressive Eric Bailly and Serge Aurier are the obvious standouts.
DR Congo were equally as impressive in 2015, and while they drew their three group games they went on to beat Congo in a tense quarter-final before succumbing to the Ivorians. Their squad is rather more workmanlike, but Dieumerci Mbokani was joint top scorer in the last AFCON and clearly knows the way to goal. Providing the ammunition will be the likes of Benik Afobe and Cedric Bakambu.
So they will surely present a tough test of the Ivorians’ credentials, and this is not a match that will be won comfortably by the favourites. However, the extra quality available in the Ivory Coast – not to mention their excellent tournament pedigree in recent years – should be enough to see them home with the victory.
Tags: Ivory Coast vs DR Congo predictions, Cote D’Ivoire v DR Congo betting tips, AFCON 2017, soccer betting tips, Ivory Coast vs DR Congo odds, match preview.