Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Prediction: Ivory Coast vs Gabon

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 6 Jun 2024

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Verdict: Total goal over 2.5

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

The top two sides in Group F will face off on Friday as Ivory Coast host Gabon at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Both teams enter the match with victories in their opening two qualifiers and aim to continue their winning streak.

Ivory Coast

After successfully hosting and winning the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, Ivory Coast aim to continue their strong form in the World Cup qualifiers.

The Elephants lead the CAF World Cup qualifying series in scoring after two rounds, largely thanks to their 9-0 victory over Seychelles in the first round. They followed this with a 2-0 win over Gambia, securing six points and a healthy goal difference at the top of Group F.

Since then, there has been a coaching change, with Emerse Fae replacing Jean-Louis Gasset after the latter’s struggles during the AFCON group stage. Fae remains undefeated as Ivory Coast’s coach, guiding the team to four wins and two draws in six matches, including four competitive games and two friendlies.

The next goal is to build on their strong start in the qualifiers and lead the Elephants to their fourth World Cup appearance. However, their last encounter with Gabon in 2017 during a World Cup qualifier ended in a home defeat. This loss is Ivory Coast’s only defeat against Friday’s opponents, having been unbeaten in their first six meetings, recording four wins and two draws.

Team News

Rangers midfielder Mohamed Diomande, who previously represented Ghana, has switched allegiance to the Ivory Coast and could make his debut after being named in the squad.

AFCON hero Sebastien Haller is expected to lead the attack, likely supported by Simon Adingra, who was named the tournament’s best young player, and Reims’ Oumar Diakite.

Interestingly enough, Nottingham Forest defender Serge Aurier and Galatasaray winger Wilfried Zaha did not make the squad.

Gabon

Gabon started their qualifying campaign perfectly with consecutive 2-1 victories over Kenya and Burundi.

The Panthers share six points with Friday’s hosts but are second in the group due to an inferior goal-difference.

Head coach Thierry Mouyouma will be hoping his side can replicate their performance from their last visit to Ivory Coast in World Cup qualifications in 2017. However, the loss to Senegal and the draw against Congo in March highlighted several areas needing improvement if they want a positive result from this game.

Despite this, having won two of their last four competitive away games, the visitors are unlikely to be daunted by this challenge.

Team News

Gabon’s chances will be bolstered by the return of Marseille’s in-form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Another key player to watch is Los Angeles FC forward Denis Bounga, who has been impressive in the MLS this year with eight goals in 13 matches.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly the biggest fixture in this group, both sides will be aiming to sustain their unbeaten runs. However, Ivory Coast will have the advantage of home support, which might help them edge out a stubborn Gabonese team.

Verdict: Total goal over 2.5

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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