Group D of the African Cup of Nations is shaping up nicely and we have another double header from Bouake on Saturday afternoon. First up at 14:00, the top two face-off, with table toppers Burkina Faso taking on Algeria. We've previewed this one and given you our suggested best bets.
Djamel Belmadi would have been hugely disappointed with Algeria's inability to dispatch Angola, after an 18th minute opener from Baghdad Bounedjah had given them the lead. Mabululu equalised from the spot in the 68th minute and despite the Algerian domination with the ball, they couldn't penetrate the Angolan backline again, registering just three shots on target in the match.
Now though, they have an immediate chance at redemption, taking on a Burkina Faso side who squeaked past Mauritania at the very last breath, nicking a win thanks to a Bertrand Traore penalty, six minutes into injury time.
The Stallions now lead the group and are in a position of power, knowing a point against Algeria will give them a huge chance of going through to the next round as one of the top seeds.
For Algeria, anything other than a win here would be a bit of a disaster and Riyad Mahrez & Co. know that a much improved performance is needed. Or they could be looking at another atrocious AFCON campaign following their 2019 triumph.
There have been no reported injuries for the Fennec Foxes, so Belmadi could well field the same team, despite their disappointment with the opening fixture.
As for Burkina Faso, there are concerns over the fitness of Dango Ouatarra, who took a couple of knocks against Angola. Traore will possibly given the chance to start, after his winner in their opener.
Algeria are big 4/6 favourites to win this one and go to the top of Group D, with Burkina Faso 4/1 to carry on their perfect start. Should you fancy another draw for the Fennecs then you can jump on at 11/5.
As with most AFCON games unders seems to be the fancy with u2.5 goals at 1/2, while both teams to score NO is at just 8/15.
Double Chance - Draw or Burkina Faso - 11/10
There are 27 places between these two sides in the FIFA rankings but it is Burkina Faso who have been more successful in recent times in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Since their win back in 2019, Algeria have drawn two and lost two of their four games and finished bottom of their group in 2022. Question marks have to be asked about their ability to perform when they play further south in Africa, which is certainly not the case for the Stallions.
Burkina Faso finished in fourth place last time round and started with yet another win in their opening game. I expect them to get a point at least here.
Bertrand Traore to score - 9/2
Traore may well be out of favour at parent club Aston Villa, but he is the main man in the national team and has 18 goals for his country of birth.
The 28-year-old came from the bench to score the winner against Mauritania and will surely make the starting XI here.
With penalties being given out for the softest of challenges, I fancy his chances of scoring again in Bouake.
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