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AFCON: Equatorial Guinea takes on Ivory Coast tonight. Will the host nation be able to progress from the group stages tonight?
sokapro-AFCON: Equatorial Guinea takes on Ivory Coast tonight. Will the host nation be able to progress from the group stages tonight?

Ivory Coast, hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations, will face in-form Equatorial Guinea at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Monday, hoping to avoid another painful setback.

Ivory Coast suffered a 1-0 setback to Nigeria in their second Group A encounter, putting the home team in a dangerous position before facing high-flying Equatorial Guinea, who defeated Guinea-Bissau in round two. Equatorial Guinea have qualification from the group all but confirmed after an entertaining 4-2 triumph against Guinea-Bissau in their second game at AFCON 2023. Emilio Nsue was the star of the match, becoming the first player in the continental showpiece to score a hat trick in a single game since Morocco's Soufiane Alloudi against Namibia in 2008. With four points from two games, Juan Micha's team needs a point from tonight's match to advance to the first knockout round. Equatorial Guinea, who have not lost since losing 4-0 to Tunisia in qualifying, should be confident in their ability to extend their 13-game unbeaten record against the competition's hosts.

Micha has already stated that his team will have the same hunger and determination as displayed in their match against Guinea-Bissau, and it is up to the Nzalang Nacional players to take up the task against the home side tonight. Aside from Jean-Louis Gasset's disappointment at Ivory Coast's setback over Nigeria's Super Eagles in the host country's second game, there was a noticeable failure to find solutions to Jose Peseiro's tactical change. The three-time African champions switched from a back four to a five-man defence, and the Elephants created few quality scoring opportunities in the 1-0 loss. 

Ivory Coast's second half was further hampered by their proclivity to shoot from low-value positions when they were unable to break down the Super Eagles' disciplined rearguard, with Seko Fofana particularly guilty. Gasset's men occupy third in Group A. Losing to the Equatoguineans would be disastrous, and while a draw would allow the Elephants to proceed in any capacity, it is unlikely to satisfy a disgruntled home crowd, who departed Ebimpe in bad spirits following Nigeria's victory.

(Image: Khel Now)