Both of these teams barely managed to make it through the Round of 16. Madagascar and Tunisia both ended things, against D.R. Congo and Ghana respectively, in a tense penalty shoot out. Indeed, Tunisia seemed lucky to get through the group stages at all, failing to win a single one of their opening tournament matches. They scraped by with just enough points though, thanks to weak outings by Angola and Mauritania.
You may think then that Madagascar would be coming into this match with a ton of momentum. However, bookmakers still appear hesitant to back these overachievers, with Tunisia remaining the firm favourites. With Madagascar so far exceeding expectations, and Tunisia falling behind in that regard, could we see that continue here with another big upset in the Africa Cup of Nations?
Madagascar vs Tunisia Prediction: Madagascar 1-2 Tunisia
Madagascar has proven resilient, versatile and, in terms of results, have achieved more than the highly touted Tunisia. We believe they’ve got a much better chance of winning than the odds suggest. However, we wouldn’t quite put their victory as the most likely outcome. Remember that Tunisia have impressed despite disappointing results, and even so have not lost a game since March. While they haven’t always pulled the trigger themselves, they’ve remained a terribly tough team to beat. With that in mind, we expect a much closer game than many would have anticipated a couple of months ago, but for Tunisia to pull off a gruelling 2-1 win.
Our recommended tip: Tunisia win
There’s no doubt that Madagascar has been performing well in their recent matches – arguably better than the away side in this contest. However, Tunisia have been a more successful side historically and have surpassed their opponents in recent international friendlies and the Africa Cup of Nations qualifications. All this adds up to Tunisia being the clear bookmaker favourites here. At Paddy Power, Tunisia have low-risk 8/11 match odds, while Madagascar get higher risk 9/2 odds on a win. Therefore, we recommend you back the away side for your best chance of earning a ROI.
One thing that’s truly exciting about the Africa Cup of Nations is that it provides plenty of opportunities for new and interesting matchups. And while these two have met before, it was long enough ago for this contest to be both fresh and hard to predict. Two matches went Tunisia’s way back at the turn of the millennium. They won back-to-back games in 2000 and 2001 to nil. Meanwhile, you have to go all the way back to 1987 for Madagascar victory in this fixture. A final 2-1 match from the 60s once again provides Tunisia with an ample statistical advantage, but one we think is more historically interesting that immediately relevant.
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Players to watch: Faneva Imà Andriatsima & Naïm Sliti
Madagascar: Faneva Imà Andriatsima
If there were any doubts who Madagascar’s standout player in this Africa Cup of Nations tournament is, then all speculation was silenced when Faneva Imà Andriatsima brought his team back from the brink with a goal in the 77th minute in that nail-biting encounter against D.R Congo. He’s a man who has been through thick and thin with this team, and it’s fantastic to see him finally get his chance to shine on such a huge global stage.
Tunisia: Naïm Sliti
One player we are surprised to have not seen more of in this tournament is Naïm Sliti. Tunisia’s highest scorer during the qualifiers, he’s failed to hit the back of the net in the tournament. This has coincided with generally disappointing results, so be sure to keep an eye on Sliti to see if he, and Tunisia in general, can get their groove back.