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Mali vs Equatorial Guinea in AFCON on Jan 26. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Mali vs Equatorial Guinea in AFCON on Jan 26. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Equatorial Guinea surprised one or two by making it out of an AFCON group that featured the likes of Algeria and the Ivory Coast and their reward for a second-place finish is a Round of 16 clash against Mali.

The Malians negotiated a somewhat tricky group, thanks in most part to an excellent yet controversial victory over a wily Tunisia side in their tournament opener, before confirming their title as group winners with a win over minnows Mauritania.

Mali are worthy favourites and we think they’ll have enough to make the quarterfinals, courtesy of a victory in this one.

  • Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
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Mali To Win To Nil

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mali’s progression to the knockout round was their defensive form, with two clean sheets from three games, with their only concession coming in a 1-1 draw against Gambia.

And while Equatorial Guinea have done brilliantly to get this far, they haven’t set the world alight with goals, with just two in their three AFCON outings so far.

There really isn’t much to get excited about in this Equatorial Guinea squad as far as goal scoring is concerned, with their highest scorer and captain Emilio Nsue currently without a club, so we think Mali can continue their solid defensive form and bag another clean sheet on their way to victory at odds of 7/5.

Mali Form, squad news, opinion

AFCON took a while to spark into life, but one of the most notable stories from the group phase was Mali’s victory over Tunisia in their opener.

An Ibrahima Kone goal got the job done, but the game was marred by some bizarre timekeeping from the referee, who twice blew for full-time early, causing huge anger from the Tunisian camp. Fortunately for the losers, they managed to pick themselves up and scrape through to the knockouts.

But on the whole, Mali have been impressive. They’re certainly down as dark horses for the tournament and don’t have the quality that the likes of Ivory Coast and Senegal possess, but they have a nice blend of youth and experience.

Much of their squad plies its respective trades in the French football pyramid, but one player to get excited about is Yves Bissouma, who has earned rave reviews for his performances at Premier League side Brighton, attracting the attention of Liverpool and Manchester United.

Equatorial Guinea Form, squad news, opinion

They probably aimed for qualification as one of the best third-placed sides in the AFCON group stage, so to automatically qualify from a group featuring some of the continent’s big hitters was a huge achievement for Equatorial Guinea.

The National Thunder have perhaps been a little bit muted thus far, with their three group matches featuring just three goals, but their solidity at the back saw them concede just once in that trio of games.

They picked up what was one of their most significant results in recent history last week, with a famous 1-0 win over defending champions Algeria, with Esteban Obiang netting the winner midway through the second half.

Obiang plays in the Spanish second division for Antequera and the majority of his squad play at a similar level on the Iberian Peninsula, so there’s a clear gulf in quality that we think will be too tough for them to bridge as the tournament starts to heat up.


There isn’t much to speak of when it comes to a head-to-head history, with just three meetings between the two, but Mali have a clear upper hand in the record books.

It’s a 100% record for Mali so far, and not only have they won all of their three previous encounters with Equatorial Guinea, they’re also yet to concede a goal to them.

The two faced each other twice during the 2016 edition of AFCON, with Mali coming out 1-0 winners in both, with their only other meeting being an emphatic 3-0 victory in a friendly back in 2009.

About the Venue

This Round of 16 clash will take place at the Omnisport Stadium in Limbe, in the south-west of Cameroon.

It’s one of the smaller stadiums at this year’s AFCON, hosting around 20,000 people, but both sides will look forward to returning to familiar surroundings.

In fact, both Mali and Equatorial Guinea have tasted victory at the stadium already, with Mali beating Tunisia in their opening game, while Equatorial Guinea secured their passage to the knockout stages with a 1-0 victory over Sierra Leone at this very ground.


These sides have kept five clean sheets between them in six games so far at AFCON, so it’s difficult to expect a classic in Limbe.

But that said, Mali have much more in the way of experience and quality throughout their squad, and we think that will take its toll against an Equatorial Guinea side that have had to exert themselves to make it this far.