Written by Aaron Crowie for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Ivory Coast vs Guinea | Tuesday 20 January | Malabo | 18:00
Ivory Coast will begin their quest for AFCON glory against Guinea, who on paper look to be the weakest team in Group D. However, the West Africans do have the quality to cause an upset on their day.
To Win (90mins)
Ivory Coast 11/20
Ivory Coast had a poor 2014 World Cup showing in Brazil, managing just one win and two defeats but, will be looking to put that behind them here. Coach Herve Renard took over the reins after Sabri Lamouchi’s journey ended with the 2014 World Cup. The Elephants had an inconsistent qualifying campaign, finishing second in their group behind Cameroon with three wins, a draw and two defeats. The 2015 AFCON is widely regarded as Ivory Coast’s golden generation's last chance to win international honours, with Yaya and Kolo Toure, as well as Boubacar Barry, likely playing in their last major tournament for their country. Didier Zokora and Didier Drogba have already recently hung up their boots. Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony and Gervinho have been in scintillating form for their respective clubs and will be the go-to players.
Guinea upset the odds in the AFCON qualifiers by beating both Uganda and Togo to second place in Group E, finishing a single point behind Ghana after three wins, a draw and two losses. Head coach Michel Dussuyer has already faced his share of problems selecting his squad, with France-based duo Ismael Bangoura and Bouna Sarr rejecting call-ups to focus on their club football. Dussuyer, though, will be able to rely on the likes of AC Milan midfielder Kevin Constant, Borussia Monchengladbach striker Ibrahima Traore and Lyon forward Mohamed Lamine Yattara. However, they will have to be at their absolute best if they are to get the better of the Elephants.
VERDICT: Ivory Coast 11/20
These sides have met five times since 2007, with The Elephants winning four of those five meetings. Ivory Coast have enough fire power to dispose of Guinea and claim the victory.
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