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Jan 16, 2022 at 4pm UK
Ivory CoastIvory Coast
Sierra LeoneSierra Leone
Haller (25'), Pepe (65')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Kamara (55'), Kamara (90+3')
Kakay (52'), Kamara (90+5')

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

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

Ivory Coast have an opportunity to progress into the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations when they square up to the challenge of Sierra Leone at the Japoma Stadium on Sunday.

Sierra Leone, on the other hand, secured an impressive point in last time out and now seek to build upon that in their second outing.

Match preview

Ivory Coast managed to scrape past the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea in a narrow 1-0 victory on Wednesday to get things started on the front foot.

The contest was decided in the fifth minute as Max Gradel scored a peach of a goal to hand Patrice Beaumelle's men all three points.

Consequently, the Elephants sit top of the pile in Group E and are two points clear of both Algeria and Sierra Leone.

Next up for the west Africans is a sophomore clash versus an opposing outfit yet to come out on top in any of the five previous meetings between the teams.

However, Ivory Coast have had to settle for a draw in each of the most recent two encounters, which came in the qualifiers for the 2017 AFCON.

Sierra Leone defied all expectations in their opening fixture by holding defending champions Algeria to a goalless draw on Tuesday.

Despite being under the cosh for major parts of the contest, John Keister's men held firm to record a memorable result in Douala.

The Leone stars have given their chances of progressing into the knockout stages a huge boost, but there is still work to be done in the remaining two matches.

Sierra Leone wrap up their group-stage campaign with a meeting versus Equatorial Guinea, while Ivory Coast take on Algeria.

Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • W

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

Sierra Leone Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • D

Sierra Leone form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

Thirty-four-year-old Max Gradel has now found the back of the net in two of his last three outings for Ivory Coast and is one to keep an eye on.

Maxwel Cornet got the nod over Wilfried Zaha to feature on the left-hand side of the attack last time out, but the Crystal Palace man could return to the XI for this one.

Steven Caulker was excellent in his Sierra Leone debut, and his nation will need the defender to be on song for this one.

Mohamed Kamara overcame a late first-half injury scare in the Algeria draw and should be fit enough to participate on Sunday.

Ivory Coast possible starting lineup:
Sangare; Konan, Bailly, Maiga, Deli; Kessie, Seri, Sangare; Zaha, Haller, Gradel

Sierra Leone possible starting lineup:
M. Kamara; Wright, Caulker, Bangura, Kakay; J. Kamara, Quee, S. Kamara; Buya Turay, Bundu, A. Kamara

We say: Ivory Coast 2-0 Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone punched significantly above their weight and will take huge belief from that performance heading into this weekend's game. However, we are tipping Ivory Coast to come away with all three points and confirm their place in the round of 16.

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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