Thursday, May 26
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Jan 20, 2022 at 4pm UK
Ivory Coast
3 - 1
Kessie (22'), Sangare (39'), Pepe (54')
Deli (12'), Aurier (12'), Maiga (72')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Bendebka (73')
Brahimi (78'), Boulaya (84')

Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Algeria - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Algeria - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Africa Cup of Nations clash between Ivory Coast and Algeria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

In the final round of group matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, two African giants collide in Group E as Ivory Coast and Algeria lock horns at the Douala Stadium on Thursday.

Having failed to win any of their opening two games, Algeria need all three points to stand a chance of making it to the round of 16, while a share of the spoils will see the Elephants through to the next phase.

Match preview

Ivory Coast were denied a second straight win in Group E and an early ticket to the last 16 on Sunday when they were held to a 2-2 draw with a resilient Sierra Leone side.

Musa Noah Kamara levelled matters in the 55th minute after Sebastien Haller handed the Elephants a half-time lead, and after falling behind to Nicolas Pepe's 65th-minute strike, the Leone Stars rallied once again with substitute Alhaji Kamara restoring parity in the third minute of injury time.

Prior to that, Patrice Beaumelle's side claimed a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea in their group opener last Wednesday courtesy of Max Gradel's fifth minute strike.

With four wins from two games, Ivory Coast currently sit at the summit of Group E, one point above second-place Equatorial Guinea and need just a draw to seal their place in the knockout stages of the tournament.

The Elephants head into Thursday's game unbeaten in all but one of their last 14 games in all competitions, picking up nine wins and four draws in that time.

Meanwhile, Algeria's chances of reaching the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations suffered a huge blow last time out when they fell to a shock 1-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea.

Despite seeing 69% of the ball possession and being on the front foot for most of the game, Algeria failed to convert their dominance into goalscoring opportunities as Esteban Orozco scored in the 70th minute to hand the National Thunder all three points.

Prior to that, Algeria were on a blistering run of 26 games without defeat, picking up 19 wins and seven draws, including a 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone in their AFCON opener last Tuesday.

The Greens, who came into Cameroon on the back of their Arab Cup triumph and also as reigning AFCON champions, now risk a shock group-stage exit from the tournament as they sit rock-bottom in the group with one point from two outings.

A major factor behind their sloppy start to the tournament has been the lack of sting at the attacking end of the pitch as Djamel Belmadi's men are one of just three sides yet to find the target so far.

Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • W
  • D

Ivory Coast form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Algeria Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • D
  • L

Algeria form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Despite failing to see out the win against Sierra Leone last time out, we expect Beaumelle to name a similar starting XI on Thursday, meaning we could see Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha start on either flank with Sebastien Haller occupying the central role in attack for the second game running.

Eric Bailly picked up a slight knock which saw him make way for Odilon Kossounou in the aforementioned game and the Manchester United defender is a doubt for the Elephants.

Meanwhile, given the stakes of the game, Belmadi could ring a few changes at the attacking end of the pitch as Algeria are yet to register a goal at the tournament despite their star-studded frontline.

Islam Slimani and West Ham United forward Said Benrahma were both named on the substitutes' bench against Equatorial Guinea last time out and the duo will push for starring roles here.

On the injury front, Djamel Benlamri was forced off the pitch nine minutes after the interval through an injury against the National Thunder and the veteran defender is a major doubt for Thursday's clash.

Should the Qatar SC man fail to recover in time for the game, 31-year-old Mehdi Tahrat could come into the fold for his first starting appearance of the tournament.

Ivory Coast possible starting lineup:
Sangare; Aurier, Kossounou, Deli, Konan; Kessie, Seri, Sangare; Zaha, Haller, Pepe

Algeria possible starting lineup:
M'Bolhi; Bensebaini, Atal, Mandi, Bedrane; Belkebla, Brahimi, Boulaya; Mahrez, Bounedjah, Benrahma

We say: Ivory Coast 1-1 Algeria

Algeria have been nothing short of disappointing so far as they failed to pick up a win against the two weakest sides in the group. While we expect the Greens to throw in the kitchen sink in search of all three points, we are tipping the Elephants to cancel out their efforts and force a share of the spoils.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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