Cape Verde Islands vs DR Congo | Thursday 22 January | Ebebiyin | 21:00
Cape Verde face DR Congo in the second round of Group B on Thursday with both teams set to go all out for victory following draws in their opening matches. These sides have met on two occasions with the Leopards boasting a 2-1 victory back in 2005 and a 1-1 draw in Cape Verde.
To Win (90mins)
Cape Verde 16/10
DR Congo 7/4
Cape Verde delivered a display of some fortitude to come from behind to hold Tunisia to a 1-1 draw in their opening African Nations Cup Group B match on Sunday. The result mirrored the earlier match between Zambia and DR Congo, which also ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving the group extremely open. Cape Verde may be somewhat unfancied for the tournament but they look like a team that can only get better. The Blue Sharks pose a substantial threat from set pieces, with Steaua Bucharest defender Fernando Varela and forward Djaniny amongst their most prominent threats in this regard. Going forward, coach Rui Aguas is blessed with a talent littered assortment of options who boast pace and power in abundance, with these attributes allowing the Blue Sharks to break with devastating efficiency. Such are their attacking powers that Lille’s Ryan Mendes couldn’t find a place in the starting line-up against Tunisia. Cape Verde are a side of hard grafters but their one player of genuine quality is Sporting Lisbon forward Heldon, who showed all his best attributes against the Eagles of Carthage on Sunday. Blessed with excellent pace and skill with the ball at his feet, as well as a quick football brain and a rocket shot, he remains the Blue Sharks’ most dangerous player.
Some will point to the fact that DR Congo had to come through as the best third-placed team in the qualifiers as an indication that they are not a threat in this tournament. However, a deeper look into that should suggest that the Leopards could be a real threat considering they picked up enough points to qualify despite being in a qualifying group with Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Both of those nations are amongst the leading contenders to win the Africa Cup of Nations so it does look like DR Congo earned as many points as they could. They put in a strong performance in their opening game against Zambia and will fancy their chances against the Blue Sharks. DR Congo will once again look to Crystal Palace star Yannick Bolasie, who was a huge threat against Chipolopolo, creating chances and getting on the score-sheet. Bolasie is one to give opposition defenders a torrid time and the Zambian defence can attest to that. The influential winger will look to put Cape Verde to the sword with dazzling dribbles, close control and his trademark blistering pace. He, alongside fellow English Premier League player Youssouf Mulumbu, will provide shield and sword in midfield and are key players in key areas for DR Congo.
VERDICT: Cape Verde 16/10
This should be a tight encounter between two sides who are solid defensively and lethal in attack. Cape Verde look the slightly better team at the moment and were unlucky not to beat Tunisia having created better goal scoring chances. Cape Verde are slight favourites at 16/10 and should claim their first victory. Get on.