Ivory Coast may be the defending champions but almost unquestionably have gone backwards since winning the 2015 competition in Equatorial Guinea. With Morocco an improving force, they look capable of getting a result in this match. Having drawn their two opening games, Ivory Coast’s equation is very simple. A win will take them through, while anything less will see them eliminated. Morocco meanwhile only need a point to progress following their 3-1 win over Togo last time out and they could even win the group by only drawing this fixture, depending on the result in the other game.
They aren’t likely to try anything too adventurous here then but we did see plenty of evidence of attacking quality in their win on Friday night as they recovered from going behind early to win convincingly. They’d only suffered 1 defeat in 13 matches coming into the tournament too so their form is decent and they should certainly take confidence from having held Ivory Coast to a draw as recently as two months ago in a cagey World Cup Qualifier between the sides. Defensively Morocco are very well organised and they’ve conceded just 5 goals in their last 14 internationals, which suggests they are well-equipped to deal with a game they don’t need to chase.
Ivory Coast may be unbeaten in 14 matches overall but 8 of those games have been drawn including their two matches so far in this competition. The departures of the Toure brothers and Didier Drogba from the international stage was always going to be tough for them to deal with and you have to wonder if they possess the creative quality and cutting edge to make it through here. They only won one of their four qualifying matches for this competition so recent competitive victories have been a fairly infrequent occurrence.
Morocco by contrast stormed through qualifying and have been the more impressive side so far, despite their opening day defeat. They are well equipped to defend deep and will always be a threat on the break with their forwards looking lively last time out. Therefore we are backing Double Chance – Morocco or Draw.
HEAD TO HEAD
These sides met in a World Cup qualifier in Marrakech as recently as November. The game ended 0-0. Ivory Coast had won the two previous clashes 1-0 and also won by that margin when they last met in an AFCON match back in 2006 when Didier Drogba netted the only goal.
MOROCCO VS IVORY COAST STATS
Morocco haven't conceded more than once in any of their last 19 internationals. Ivory Coast have drawn 6 of their last 10 matches at the African Cup of Nations.
MOROCCO TEAM NEWS
Morocco aren't likely to change much following an impressive showing last time out. Promising 19 year old Youssef En-Nesyri will be hoping for a start in attack, having come off the bench to score last time out.
IVORY COAST TEAM NEWS
Ivory Coast could be forced into changes following two below-par displays. Salomon Kalou is a strong contender to come into the side with his experience likely to be valuable in such a big game. Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia is also an option