We're at the quarter-final stage in the Africa Cup of Nations and on Saturday afternoon (17:00) Stade Bouake hosts Mali taking on the home nation of Ivory Coast. We've previewed this one and given you our best betting predictions.
The hosts made an unconventional mid-tournament change after their 4-0 demolition at the hands of Equatorial Guinea, despatching with the services of Jean-Louis Gasset and bringing in his assistant and ex-Reading flop Emerse Fae.
The 40-year-old won 41 caps for the west African country and is already ingratiating himself with the Elephant fans, having beaten heavily-fancied Senegal on penalties. Now though, is a quarter final match they are expected to win.
Mali remain undefeated at AFCON 2023, with Les Aigles topping group E, before comfortably despatching a Burkina Faso side who made the semi-finals in Cameroon.
29 million Ivorians will be fully behind the host nation here and Stade Bouake will be electric on Saturday.
Eric Chelle is expected to stick with his trusty 4-3-1-2 formation for this huge game, with only Amadou Haidara as a possibly injury issue.
As for the Ivory Coast, they could be without Sebastien Haller and Ibrahim Sangare, after the latter hobbled off injured against Senegal.
Mali find themselves as the 12/5 outsiders in Bouake, with the hosts Ivory Coast as short at 6/5 to progress to the semi-finals. Should you fancy extra-time and the possibility of a penalty shootout, the draw is backable at 9/5.
Yet again, goals appear to be slim pickings, with under 2.5 trading at just 2/5 currently. The last time these two faced off the final score was 1-0 to Mali - a 9/2 shot on Saturday evening.
Mali to win - 12/5
I was really surprised to see Mali had been installed as a 12/5 underdog for this quarter-final, having strolled into the last eight undefeated. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast have scored just three times in four games and have lost twice, one of them a 4-0 drubbing.
Yes, they may have changed managers and knocked out the reigning champions but they have looked anything but reassuring in their path to this stage. They also struggle to score goals and are likely missing one of their chief threats in Sebastien Haller.
I really like Mali to win this one inside the 90 minutes.
Lassine Sinayoko to score - 3/1
The Auxerre forward has had a tremendous tournament thus far, scoring against South Africa, Tunisia and the winner versus Burkina Faso.
The 24-year-old has four goals in Ligue 2 this season, so clearly came into AFCON in good form and plays much more advanced for Mali.
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