The Africa Cup of Nations has reached the last eight, and our tip for the title Senegal are now considered favourites to lift the trophy. That’s excellent news as we head into the quarter finals, and there are plenty of good bets to be placed over the course of Saturday and Sunday’s games.
Senegal’s 2-2 draw with Algeria coupled with Tunisia’s win over Zimbabwe ended the Algerians participation – good news for Leicester fans who will welcome back Mahrez and Slimani early. The other high profile elimination was that of Ivory Coast, the current holders, who exited tamely after a 1-0 defeat to Morocco.
The two surprise participants in the quarter finals are Burkino Faso and DR Congo. The former have barely gone beyond the group stages in their history, but they were losing finalists in 2013. DR Congo – also considered outsiders – took third place in 2015 by beating Equatorial Guinea on penalties in the third-place play off, after losing the semi-final to eventual winners Ivory Coast.
Burkino Faso qualified through arguably the easiest group in the tournament, courtesy of draws with Cameroon and host Gabon, along with a win over minnows Guinea-Bissau. However, it’s difficult to dismiss the acheivments of DR Congo, who qualified from group C after beating Morroco and Togo, and holding Ivory Coast to a draw.
Senegal v Cameroon
The Senegalese have hardly been extended so far in the competition. 2-0 wins over Tunisia and Zimbabwe were both done and dusted within the first half an hour of each game, and that gave the Lions of Teranga the opportunity to rest players for the last group match against Algeria. They still came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with an Algerian side that was desperate to win to have a chance of qualifying.
Cameroon came through group A without defeat, but draws with Burkino Faso and Gabon, and a 2-1 win over minnows Guinea-Bissau are not overly-impressive results. They come up against the best side in the competition so far and one which is rated top of the ELO world football rankings for the Cup of Nations.
Senegal have won 10 of the last 12 matches, the only defeat away in South Africa in a World Cup qualifier, and the only draw with Algeria the other day when fielding a weakened side. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was one of those given a day off, and the red hot striker should be raring to go for this one. Cameroon may be unbeaten in the last ten games, but they’ve drawn five of them and come up against a better side here.
Burkino Faso v Tunisia
The early group matches in this year’s tournament were typically cagey, and one suspects that will be the case in each of these quarter final matches. With that in mind, under 2.5 goals is a fair wager at -175 with BoyleSports.
Burkino Faso played out 1-1 draws with Cameroon and Gabon before beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to top group A. The West African country have qualified for seven of the last nine Cup of Nations tournaments, but have only been beyond the group stage twice. They took fourth place in 1998, and finished runners up in 2013. They’ve lost just once in the last seven matches – six of which had had less than 2.5 goals.
Tunisia finished second behind Senegal in group B, courtesy of a 2-1 win over Algeria and a 4-2 thriller against Zimbabwe. However, those high-scoring games do not match their overall profile. Nine of Tunisia’s previous eleven internationals had two goals or less – the only exceptions heavy victories over Liberia and Djibouti.
DR Congo v Ghana
In the first of Sunday’s quarter finals we’ll take a chance on DR Congo, who are rated a -149 chance with Ladbrokes to win or draw against Ghana.
DR Congo finshed third in the 2015 edition of the Cup of Nations, beating Equatorial Guinea on penalties after a 0-0 draw. they topped group C by beating Morocco and Togo, and drawing 2-2 with Ivory Coast – helping to eliminate the current holders. It’s five wins and one draw in their last six competitive internationals, and they’re joint top scorers at the tournament so far with six goals.
Ghana are traditionally one of the heavyweights of African football, and have reached at least the semi finals in each of the last five Africa Cup of Nations renewals. 1-0 wins against Mali and Uganda in their first two group games earned the right to rotate the squad in the 1-0 defeat to Egypt, and they are rightfully favourites here. However, their record over the last ten games reads 3-4-3, and they haven’t scored more than once in the last eight matches.
Egypt v Morocco
A remarkable 13 of Egypt’s last 15 games have finished under 2.5 goals, as have 11 of Morocco’s last 15.
The Egyptians topped group D via 1-0 wins over Uganda and Ghana, following the opening 0-0 draw with Mali. Morocco lost their first match at the tournament to DR Congo, but qualified in second place after beating Togo 3-1 and Ivory Coast 1-0. To further the case for a low-scoring game – each of the last ten meetings between these two sides would have seen the under 2.5 goal bet land.
Senegal to beat Cameroon
Saturday 28th January, 19:00 GMT
Burkino Faso v Tunisia – Under 2.5 Goals
Saturday 28th January, 16:00 GMT
DR Congo or Draw
Sunday 29th January, 16:00 GMT
Egypt v Morocco – Under 2.5 Goals
Sunday 29th January, 19:00 GMT
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