Watch: Ivory Coast vs Democratic Republic of Congo – 2023 African Cup of Nations semi-finals | Africa Cup of Nations news

from: Ivory Coast vs Democratic Republic of Congo
What: 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final
when: Wednesday 6 February 2024 at 20:00 GMT
where: Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Hosts Ivory Coast are looking to continue their remarkable awakening at the Africa Cup of Nations and ride a frenetic wave of support on home soil as they bid for a place in the final with victory over the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The two teams will meet in Abidjan on Wednesday, just hours after Nigeria faced South Africa in Bouaké in the first semi-final. The winners advance to the final on Sunday in Abidjan.

The Ivorians put aside a rocky start to the tournament, including a humiliating 4-0 group stage loss to minnows Equatorial Guinea, to reach the semi-finals amid huge home crowds.

They return to the Olympic Stadium Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, a place where they produced a mediocre performance in the group stage, but now look refreshed after knockout wins over defending champions Senegal and neighbors Mali.

“We were at the bottom of the hole after losing to Equatorial Guinea. We had to wait for the rest of the group matches to see if we qualified, which is what happened,” said influential Ivorian midfielder Sekou Fofana.

“After everything we’ve endured, we’re no longer afraid of anything.

“After the Equatorial Guinea match we were humiliated and felt alone. But we managed to get through. Champions always manage to advance.”

The Ivorians face a Congolese side that drew four straight matches before beating Guinea 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

They had planned to qualify from their group, which they did despite the three draws, as their primary ambition for the tournament, so anything they achieve now is a bonus.

“Now that we are in the semi-finals, it would be foolish not to think that we can go on and reach the final,” said team coach Sebastien Desabre.

The Congolese national team won the second of its two African Cup of Nations titles 50 years ago when the country was known as Zaire.

Nigeria have won all three previous meetings with South Africa in the last Nations Cup finals, most recently in the 2019 quarter-finals in Cairo.

The two teams kept a clean sheet during their last four matches in the tournament, and defeated difficult competitors to reach the semi-finals.

Nigeria beat Ivory Coast in the group stage and Cameroon in the round of 16, while South Africa beat Morocco, the tournament favorites.

South Africa coach Hugo Bruce said: I think Nigeria is a team that is getting better and better.

Form

Ivory Coast are making their way into this tournament after a performance in the group stage that left the hosts on the verge of elimination. The win over the defending champions, Senegal, put the Elephants back on the right track, and beating Mali in the quarter-finals was no easy feat either.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo knocked out the record holders, Egypt, in the round of 16 – and that alone is enough for any outstanding record to make them heavy favorites to beat Guinea in the quarter-finals.

Ivory Coast: WLLWW

Democratic Republic of the Congo: DDDWW

Interactive - 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Winners - 1704968753
(Al Jazeera)

face to face:

This will be the 15th meeting between the two teams and is a repeat of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final.

The Elephants won that confrontation 3-1, with goals from Gervinho, Wilfred Cannon and Yaya Toure.

Overall, Ivory Coast won six matches compared to DR Congo’s four and five draws.

Ivory Coast national team news

Ivory Coast duo Omar Diakite and Odilon Kosounou will miss the match due to suspension after being sent off against Mali.

Diakite received a second yellow card for removing his shirt to celebrate the winning goal.

Willy Boly is the favorite to replace Kosono in defence. Striker Sebastien Haller has overcome an ankle injury and could make his first start.

Expected eleventh: Yahya Furfana, Nkolomande Konan, Jean Séry, Sekou Fofana, Willy Boly, Franck Kessie, Max Gradel, Serge Aurier, Nicolas Pepe, Kwaku Kombi, Obiti Ndika.

Congo national team news

There are no new fears for the Democratic Republic of Congo entering the match, after Yoane Wessa suffered from a minor problem in the last match.

Expected eleventh: Lionel Nzao, Henoch Baka, Samuel Motsami, Theo Bongonda, Meshack Lena, Cedric Bakambu, Charles Mungenda, John Wesa, Chancel Mbemba, Gideon Kyatingwa, Fuka Kawila.

Interactive - African Cup of Nations stadiums 2023-1704968758
(Al Jazeera)

(tags for translation)News

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