The resuscitated elephants of Cote D’Ivoire will take on Senegal in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations at Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Monday night.
Cote D’Ivoire vs Senegal Preview
To many locals, the Elephants ought to be at home by now after failing to qualify directly from Group A. Cote D’Ivoire won their opening game against Guinea Bissau 2-0 but were humbled by Nigeria 1-0 before a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Equatorial Guinea. However, they managed to sail through as one of the third-best-placed teams.
That huge setback triggered a nationwide outrage, leading to the dismissal of coach Jean-Louis Gasset, with his assistant Emerst Fae now in charge. Firstly, he has been tasked with qualifying the team to the quarterfinals – and that means defeating Senegal, as the resuscitated elephants take on Senegal.
The elephants boast enough quality to torment the Senegalese but the team still lacks the fighting spirit needed to upset tough opponents. Fae has promised to fix that psychological defect ahead of this crucial meeting. The Ivorian team will surely enjoy huge support in Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital, but they had more crowd in Abidjan and still lost their two previous matches.
A perfect start from their opening three games has raised expectations over Senegal’s title credentials once again. They are the only team to post a flawless run in the group stage, recording nine points and scoring eight goals against one conceded. Sadio Mane and Co. have glory in their sights and will not take chances.
However, the Teranga Lions will come up against a highly motivated and revived elephants team backed by home-based diehard supporters. The Elephants want to use this meeting to atone for their disgraceful loss to Equatorial Guinea. If they could see off the challenge of Senegal, the whole nation would forgive and forget their recent ugly past.
Senegal are not expected to been overwhelmed by a hostile crowd of 20,000 people at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium, no matter how high the volume is turned. The Lions will focus on their game and by doing that push the pressure over to the host team. We are expecting a relentlessly intense and fiercely contested clash.
Head-to-Head: Both teams have met six times, with Cote D’Ivoire winning thrice, Senegal twice and one ending in a draw.
Form Guide: Senegal have won four times and drawn once in their last five matches while Cote D’Ivoire have won thrice and lost twice. Senegal – W-W-W-W-D, Cote D’Ivoire L-L-W-W-W.
What Did They Say?
Cote D’Ivoire coach Emerst Fae: “We know what is at stake. The whole nation is motivated. It’s a match we can’t afford to lose. We will fight and fight until the blast of the final whistle.”
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse: “It’s not going to be an easy game for us because we are not only facing a host nation, we are facing a revived team. They are always dangerous, but we will do our best achieve our objective.”
Prediction: Cote D’Ivoire 2-1 Senegal