Look ahead to this AFCON 2023 quarter-final duel at Stade Bouaké with our Mali vs Ivory Coast prediction and Preview.

Mali vs Ivory Coast: Pre-Match Facts

  • The Opta supercomputer rates Mali as favourites for this one, winning 42.3% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations.
  • This will be the sixth CAF Africa Cup of Nations encounter between Mali and Ivory Coast and their first since meeting in the last 16 in 2019 (1-0 win for Ivory Coast).
  • Mali have progressed from all five of their previous quarter-final appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations. This is the most number of matches any team has played in this round without ever being eliminated.
  • Ivory Coast are through to the quarter-finals of AFCON 2023 despite losing two of their last three matches; prior to the 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their second group game this year, they’d only lost two of their previous 19 games in the competition.
  • Ivory Coast have only scored three goals in getting to the quarter-finals of AFCON 2023, the fewest they’ve ever scored in a single edition when playing a minimum of four matches.
  • If Ivory Coast were to progress against Mali, the hosts (or co-host) will have reached at least the semi-finals in consecutive AFCON tournaments (after Cameroon finished third in 2021) for the first time since a run of seven tournaments in a row between 1996 and 2008.
  • Mali are unbeaten in their last eight AFCON matches since the start of the 2021 edition (W4 D4), conceding just three goals and keeping five clean sheets.
  • Lassine Sinayoko has scored three of Mali’s five goals at AFCON 2023 and could become the first Malian to score four goals in a single edition since Freddy Kanouté in 2004 (4).
  • Ivory Coast have scored from just 5.6% of their shots at AFCON 2023 (3/54); only DR Congo (5.4% 3/56) have a lower shot conversion rate among the quarter-finalists, while it’s the worst ratio in a single AFCON edition for Ivory Coast on record (since 2010).

Match Preview

After suffering back-to-back defeats in their first two matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast’s chances of winning the title on home territory looked remote; now, though, they’re just two games away from the final having seen off defending champions Senegal in the last 16.

Mali stand in their way next, and although Ivory Coast’s inauspicious start was hardly conducive to building confidence, eliminating the favourites last time out 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw will have them believing they can deal with anyone.

Ivory Coast’s run to the last eight shouldn’t be taken for granted either. After winning the 2015 edition, they only got to the quarter-finals once over the next three tournaments.

Nevertheless, the host nation have ridden their luck to this point; they scraped through their group and an 86th-minute Franck Kessié penalty was necessary to take their last-16 clash to extra time before holding their nerve in the shootout.

Mali may see Ivory Coast the lesser of two evils compared to Senegal, however. They deservedly defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the last 16; if they get past the Elephants, they’ll reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2013. They finished third then, as they did in the 2012 edition as well.

Beating the hosts on Saturday would be a real statement for a side hoping to claim their first ever AFCON crown. They reached the final during their first participation in 1972 and got to at least the semis in half of the 12 tournaments they’ve qualified for before this one, but glory has eluded them.

Saturday’s game also promises to be a particularly emotional one for their head coach, Eric Chelle. Although a former Mali international, Chelle was born in Ivory Coast and revealed this week that he has several friends and former colleagues among the Elephants’ staff.

Mali vs Ivory Coast Head-to-Head

This will be the sixth Africa Cup of Nations encounter between Mali and Ivory Coast, and their first since meeting since Ivory Coast won their 2019 last-16 duel 1-0.

In fact, Ivory Coast have never lost an AFCON match against Mali, winning four of their previous five games (D1). Against no other team have they played more often in the competition without ever losing.

Mali scored just two goals in those previous five AFCON clashes with Ivory Coast (conceding nine). They’ve not scored fewer goals against any other team they’ve met more than twice in the competition.

Mali vs Ivory Coast Prediction

Mali vs Ivory Coast Opta Analyst match prediction

Ivory Coast may be the hosts and blessed with a talented squad, but the Opta supercomputer considers Mali as the favourites here, winning 42.3% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations in 90 minutes.

On the other side of the coin, Ivory Coast won 31.6% of the time, so they’re hardly out of the running. The game went to extra time in 26.1% of the simulations.

Ivory Coast’s chances of winning the title have, understandably, increased compared to our pre-tournament predictions, but probably not as much as you’d think. Because of their largely underwhelming results, their success probability is rated at 13.5% by the Opta supercomputer; Mali are now considered the second favourites with a 14.7% likelihood of going all the way.

Below you’ll find the current, up-to-date tournament projections for both teams according to the Opta supercomputer:

Mali vs Ivory Coast Squads

Mali: Djigui Diarra, Aboubacar Doumbia, Ismaël Diawara, Mamadou Fofana I, Kiki Kouyaté, Sikou Niakaté, Hamari Traoré, Amadou Danté, Falaye Sacko, Moussa Diarra, Lassana Coulibaly, Adama Traoré, Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haidara, Aliou Dieng, Diadié Samassékou, Kamory Doumbia, Boubacar Traoré, Mohamed Camara, Moussa Doumbia, Sékou Koïta, Fousseni Diabaté, Ibrahim Sissoko, Lassine Sinayoko, Siriné Doucouré, Youssoufou Niakaté, Nene Dorgeles. 

Coach: Éric Chelle 

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 

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