Mali face Ivory Coast in Suez on Monday as the Africa Cup of Nations round of sixteen nears its end.
Mali finished top of Group E – four points clear of next-best Tunisia – and are unbeaten so far at the tournament.
Ivory Coast finished second in Group D after claiming two wins and suffering one defeat.
They opened their AFCON 2019 account with a 1-0 victory over South Africa before losing to Morocco in their second match.
In their last group game, The Elephants recorded a resounding 4-1 win against Namibia. Their performance will have given the squad confidence heading into the knockout stage of the competition.
Toulouse’s Max Gradel give his side the lead just before half-time and Serey Die added a second after the break.
Namibia hit back in the 71st minute however Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Lyon forward Maxwel Cornet both scored late on to wrap up the win.
In Mali’s last match, Amadou Haidara’s 37th minute strike was enough to claim the victory. The RB Leipzig midfielder scored with a stunning left-footed effort from just outside the penalty area.
They began their campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of Mauritania and followed that up by picking up a 1-1 draw with Tunisia.
Mali were not generally mentioned amongst the pre-tournament favorites however their impressive start to the competition has put them in contention to lift the trophy.
Given the strength of Ivory Coast’s squad, they have been touted as potential winners and come into this match as favorites.
The Elephants already have two AFCON titles to their name and their most recent triumph came in 2015.
On the other hand, Mali’s most notable finish came in 1972 when they finished as runners-up after losing to Congo in the final.
They reached the semi-finals in 2012 and 2013 and will be confident of reaching the latter stages of the tournament again this year.
Mali have only ever managed three wins against Ivory Coast and their last victory in this fixture came all the way back in 1983.
Ivory Coast have registered eighteen wins over Mali however their most recent AFCON meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in the group stage of the 2015 tournament.
PREDICTION : DRAW 1-1
ACCUMULATOR TIP : DRAW OR BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.70