We’ve reached the semi-final stage of a memorable AFCON 2023. We look ahead to the match at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan with our Ivory Coast vs DR Congo prediction and preview.

Ivory Coast vs DR Congo: Pre-Match Facts

  • The Opta supercomputer predicts that Ivory Coast are the most likely side to make it to the AFCON 2023 final from this tie, with the host nation winning inside 90 minutes across 41.3% of pre-match simulations.
  • Ivory Coast have faced DR Congo five times previously at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (W2 D2 L1), with this their first encounter since a 2-2 draw in the 2017 group stage.
  • The only previous meeting in the knockout rounds of the competition between Ivory Coast and DR Congo was at the semi-final stage in 2015; the Elephants won 3-1 and went on to lift the trophy that year.
  • This is Ivory Coast’s 10th appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, becoming the fifth nation to play in as many as 10 semi-finals, along with Nigeria (15, inc. this year), Egypt (13), Ghana (12) and Cameroon (10). It’s their first since 2015 when they beat this year’s opponents DR Congo 3-1 under Hervé Renard.
  • DR Congo have reached their sixth AFCON semi-final – they have won their previous two in which they’ve faced the hosts (vs Ethiopia in 1968 and vs Egypt in 1974) but have never won a semi-final match when not playing that year’s hosts, losing all three (1972, 1998 and 2015).
  • On the last three occasions the AFCON host nation has reached the semi-final, they have been eliminated without scoring a goal: Ghana in 2008 (lost 1-0 to Cameroon), Equatorial Guinea in 2015 (lost 3-0 to Ghana) and Cameroon in 2021 (drew 0-0 with Egypt and lost 3-1 on pens). The last host to reach the final was Egypt in 2006.
  • Ivory Coast reached the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final thanks to a 2-1 win over Mali, which saw them score in the 90th and 120th minutes to win. They were only the second team to score in both the 90th and 120th minutes within the same AFCON match, after with Morocco vs Algeria in 2004.
  • Should DR Congo reach the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final, it would be their first final since 1974. This would represent the biggest gap between a nation reaching AFCON finals, with Tunisia currently having the longest wait between 1965 and 1996.
  • Ivory Coast could become the first nation to reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations despite suffering a four-goal defeat earlier in the tournament (lost 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea) since Nigeria in 1990, who lost 5-1 to Algeria in the group stages before facing them again in the final that year, losing 1-0.
  • 20-year-old Oumar Diakité scored Ivory Coast’s 120th-minute winner against Mali in the 2023 AFCON quarter-final, becoming the Elephants’ youngest AFCON scorer since Tchiressoua Guel in 1994 (18 years, 31 days) and only the second player in the last 11 editions under the age of 21 to score a winning goal in the knockout stages, along with Dango Ouattara for Burkina Faso vs Tunisia in 2022 (quarter-final).
  • Yoane Wissa has scored two of DR Congo’s five goals at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, netting against Zambia and Guinea. Only four players have ever scored in three separate games at a single AFCON for the Leopards: Mayanga Maku in 1972 (3), Ndaye Mulamba in 1974 (5), Jerry Tondelua in 1998 (3) and Junior Kabananga in 2017 (3).

Match Preview

Ivory Coast have reached the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, despite only winning one of their five matches inside 90 minutes. After a disappointing group stage, which included a record 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea in their final group match, head coach Jean-Louis Gasset was sensationally sacked mid-tournament, despite Ivory Coast still having a chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

As it turned out, their third-place finish in Group A was enough to secure a spot in the round of 16, so interim coach Emerse Faé has been in charge of their last two matches at the tournament. He’s overseen a penalty-shootout win over reigning champions Senegal in the last 16, followed by an excellent comeback win versus Mali in the quarter-finals.

The Ivorians were heading out of the tournament until Simon Adingra’s injury-time equaliser took the tie to extra time, where Oumar Diakité’s last-gasp goal sealed progression to the semis in the most dramatic of circumstances. Unfortunately for Ivory Coast, match-winner Diakité will be missing for this tie after receiving a second yellow card and subsequent red for his goal celebrations in that win.

Mali 1-2 Cote D'Ivoire AFCON

DR Congo’s quarter-final win was less dramatic, defeating Guinea 3-1, although they did have to come from behind to seal their spot in the final four. Goals from Chancel Mbemba, Yoane Wissa (penalty) and Arthur Masuaku saw them reach the AFCON semis for the first time since 2015, when they eventually exited at this stage to the Ivorians.

DR Congo 3-1 Guinea AFCON

That win over Guinea in the quarter-final was their first win at AFCON 2023 after four successive draws. They drew against Morocco, Zambia and Tanzania in the group stage before drawing 1-1 with Egypt in the last 16, needing a penalty shootout to advance.

Of the four semi-finalists at AFCON 2023, Ivory Coast are the only side to have averaged more possession than their opponents (56.2%), while they have scored the fewest goals (5) and conceded the same number as South Africa, Nigeria and DR Congo combined (7). DR Congo have been one of the hardest teams to break down at the tournament, allowing opponents just 35 shots with 11 of those on target in their five games – fewer than the other three semi-finalists.

Ivory Coast vs DR Congo Head-to-Head

This will be the sixth time that Ivory Coast and DR Congo have met at an Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Four of the previous five meetings have been in the group stage, but they came up against one another in the 2015 semi-finals – a tie that Ivory Coast won 3-1 thanks to goals from Yaya Touré, Gervinho and Wilfried Kanon which cancelled out a Dieumerci Mbokani first-half penalty. Ivory Coast went on to win the tournament following a penalty shootout against Ghana in the final – their second, and most recent AFCON title.

DR Congo and Ivory Coast met again in the 2017 tournament, with the two nations playing out a 2-2 draw in the group stage. Ivory Coast went out in the groups that year, while DR Congo eventually exited in the quarter-finals.

More recently, Ivory Coast enjoyed a 3-1 friendly win over DR Congo in October 2019 before they drew 0-0 in the group stage of the 2022 CAF African Nation Championship in January 2023.

Ivory Coast vs DR Congo Prediction

Ivory Coast vs DR Congo Prediction

Host nation Ivory Coast are predicted as the most likely of these sides to progress to the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by the Opta supercomputer. Across the 10,000 simulations before kick-off, Ivory Coast won inside 90 minutes 41.3% of the time compared to the DR Congo’s 32.3%.

Across those pre-match sims, over a quarter (26.4%) saw the tie go to extra time – something Ivory Coast had to go through in order to reach this stage both against Senegal in the round of 16 (eventually winning after a penalty shootout) and Mali in the quarters.

As it stands, Ivory Coast are the second favourites to win AFCON 2023 behind Nigeria. Before the tournament began, the hosts were also second favourites with the Opta supercomputer (12.1%) behind reigning champions Senegal (12.8%), while DR Congo were considered as outsiders at 2.4% – that projection was below 10 other teams.

Ivory Coast vs DR Congo Squads

Ivory Coast: Charles Folly, Yahia Fofana, Badra Ali Sangaré, Evan Ndicka, Wilfried Singo, Ousmane Diomande, Ismaël Diallo, Sèrge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou, Ghislain Konan, Willy-Arnaud Boly, Seko Fofana, Jean Seri, Franck Kessié, Idrissa Doumbia, Ibrahim Sangaré, Lazare Amani, Max Gradel, Jérémie Boga, Simon Adingra, Oumar Diakité, Jean-Philippe Krasso, Sébastien Haller, Jonathan Bamba, Christian Kouamé, Nicolas Pépé, Karim Konaté.

Coach: Emerse Faé

DR Congo: Baggio Siadi, Lionel Mpasi, Dimitry Bertaud, Arthur Masuaku, Henock Inonga, Chancel Mbemba, Rocky Bushiri, Joris Kayembe, Dylan Batubinsika, Gédéon Kalulu, Gaël Kakuta, Brian Bayeye, Grady Diangana, Samuel Moutoussamy, Aaron Tshibola, Omenuke Mfulu, Charles Pickel, Yoane Wissa, Simon Banza, Meschack Elia, Fiston Mayele, Théo Bongonda, Silas Katompa Mvumpa, Cédric Bakambu.

Coach: Sébastien Desabre

Enjoy this? Subscribe to our football newsletter to receive exclusive weekly content. You should also follow our social accounts over on XInstagramTikTok and Facebook.