The 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations has only just begun and the gulf created by the initial matches can already be profoundly felt. Tournament hosts Egypt won their opening match against Zimbabwe in a contest that was much more one-sided than the final result would suggest. They could have – and probably should have – secured victory far more comprehensively.
DR Congo, however, fell hard at the first hurdle, being defeated 2-0 to Uganda and losing momentum when they had little to spare. Indeed, DRC’s run up to the tournament was hardly inspiring. A sole 1-0 victory over Liberia in March was all that prevented a winless streak that would have stretched back all the way to 2017. Egypt, on the other hand, have remained consistent, having swept the competition in the qualification process and impressed during international friendlies. The host will surely be confident heading into this one.
Egypt vs DRC Prediction: Egypt 2-0 DRC
We don’t rate DR Congo’s chances of winning here very highly. It seems hopeless without a seismic change in their performance quality. However, a draw could be a possibility. While DRC have failed to win on all but one occasion recently, they have dragged the majority of their opponents to a stalemate. That’s a serious possibility, but not the most likely one. The underdogs will be forced to play to win here and it’s a battle that Egypt are very likely to come out on top of, thanks to their superior form. With that in mind, our scoreline prediction is 2-0 to the hosts.
Our recommended tip: Egypt win to nil
The home side are the clear bookmakers’ favourites to win this contest. At Paddy Power, Egypt have low-risk 2/5 match odds. Meanwhile, DRC fans will have to settle for much higher risk 7/1 odds on a win. However, considering our scoreline prediction and the fact that Egypt have won two of their last three matches without conceding a goal, we recommend that you predict they’ll achieve the same feat here. You’ll get good 10/11 odds and a higher potential ROI on a wager of Egypt to win to nil at Paddy Power.
There’s also plenty of positivity to be found for Egypt in their head-to-head history against DR Congo. They have never, in close to half a century of competition, lost to their upcoming opponents. Admittedly, the gap between the first two games – the first took place in 1970 and wasn’t followed up until 2004 – makes this a bit less impressive. Still, it’s still a huge advantage. The closest DRC have ever come is – as we’ve suggested could be a possibility here – with a draw. However, both of these were in friendlies, not a major competition. In those instances, Egypt have always been victorious.
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Players to watch: Trézéguet & Ley Matampi
His failure to score during the run of international friendlies Egypt had heading up to the Africa Cup Of Nations had many fans wondering if he would have the same impact here as we saw during the qualification period. But their fears proved unwarranted. Trézéguet picked up exactly where he left off. He scored the first and only goal against Zimbabwe, just as he made the initial break through against Niger and Tunisia. The odds of him being the first difference maker here are significant.
DRC: Ley Matampi
Unfortunately for DR Congo, it’s hard for us to pick a player to watch, and not for good reasons. They were frankly dreadful against Uganda, with few obvious sources of inspiration we can look to in this game. With no clear front runners then, the most important man in the game may be goalkeeper Ley Matampi. He impressed in saving a long range effort by Khalid Aucho, although he may have to do much more to save his team’s tournament hopes.