In order to understand why home team Angola are coming into this match against Mali as fairly significant underdogs, you only have to look at how each performed against Mauritania. While Angola’s outing wasn’t quite a disaster, their goalless draw hardly made them look like they could prove a serious threat as we get deeper into this tournament. Mali, on the other hand, dominated their fixture against the same opponent, kicking their Africa Cup of Nations tournament off with a sensational 4-1 victory.
However, the gulf between them may not be so great when you consider that both failed to put away Tunisia. It’s still early days in the Africa Cup of Nations. And while we do think that Mali’s position as favourites is justified, a single victory is not enough for us to consider this game a sure thing either way.
Angola vs Mali Prediction: Angola 0-1 Mali
Mali have pulled forward in the group stages, but otherwise these two would surely be equals here. They were about as impressive as each other in the qualification process and Mali even lost two international outings immediately before it began. However, we’re going to give the slightest of edges to Mali in this match, largely because of the difference in pressure. The away side are already assured of at least third place and look likely to advance. For Angola though, this is a sink or swim situation. We think this will provide Mali with more breathing room to come out with a tight 1-0 victory.
Our recommended tip: Mali win
The away side have the advantage here according to the bookmakers. Mali currently sit at the top of Group E with a victory to their name and 4 points in the bag. Meanwhile, Angola sit in third position and are level with Tunisia on points. This, along with the psychological advantage it gives them, has allowed Mali to pull out as favourites. At Coral, the home side have medium-risk 29/10 odds on a win. However, Mali have lower risk 11/10 match odds. With this in mind, we recommend that you back them to victory for the best chance of winning your wager.
This is a perfect example of the type of fresh matchups that the Africa Cup of Nations can produce. The last time these two met was back in the 2010 iteration of this tournament. That’s an age ago in the world of football. There, neither team budged, with a final result of 4-4. In fact, were in not for a single international friendly in 2009 – which Mali dominated 4-0 – there would be no advantage in previous matches whatsoever. As it stands, Mali have the slightest of historical edges, but considering a decade has since past, we doubt it will have much impact here.
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Players to watch: Mateus Galiano da Costa & Adama Traoré
Angola: Mateus Galiano da Costa
Djama may seem like the obvious choice to many. After all, without his late game strike, Angola would be in a far worse position than they are now. However, there’s another player we hope will make his mark here. Mateus Galiano da Costa was a rock during the qualification period but has failed to make as much of a difference in the tournament itself. We think if Angola do pull off the win, there’s a good chance he’ll be involved.
Mali: Adama Traoré
While their triumphant opening match in the Africa Cup of Nations was an all-around inspiring team effort, one thing that held in people’s memories was the two-goal battering their opponents took from Adama Traoré to end a truly dismal day for Mauritania. Traoré also showed us his potential in a friendly loss to Senegal a few months earlier. He could continue to have a major impact on Mali’s chances going forward.