Sunday, July 14, 2024

Guinea Derby Alert: Round Of 16 Face Off Between Equatorial Guinea & Guinea

A Guinean derby looms in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 as Equatorial Guinea prepare to face off with Guinea in the round of 16 on Sunday, 28 January at Ebimpe’s Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium at 17h00 GMT.

After defying all odds in a tough Group A, Equatorial Guinea finished top of the group ahead of tournament hosts, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria as well as Guinea-Bissau. The standout performance of their group campaign certainly was their 4-0 thrashing of the hosts at a packed Alassane Ouattara Olympic stadium that sent shockwaves in the football world.

With nine goals scored in three matches, they have the best attack at this stage of the competition, with striker and captain Emilio Nsue Lopez leading the tournament’s scoring charts with 5 goals.

Equatorial Guinea are participating in their fourth AFCON following (2012, 2015, 2021). Their best showing was in the 2015 edition where they reached the semi-finals of the competition.

Their opponent, Guinea qualified as one of the four best third placed finishers after finishing on 4 points in Group C behind leaders Senegal (9 points) and Cameroon who were level on points but with a better goal difference.

Their best showing dates back to 1976 when they lost to Morocco in the final played in Ethiopia.

The team coached by Kaba Diawara was eliminated in the round of 16 during the two previous editions. The country was also a quarter-finalist in 2006, 2008 and 2015.

This will be the first  AFCON meeting between the two homonymous nations.

Pre-match comments from the head coaches and key players:

Juan Micha – Equatorial Guinea coach

“I think we are here to tackle match by match. We are already in the round of 16 which will be a difficult match. We are not favorites. We always respect the opponent. We take tomorrow’s match as a normal game, and we will work hard in our preparation.

“We are a humble family who work every day to improve. The results we have achieved do not mean that we are the best. We work every day and take things step by step”.

Saul Coco – Equatorial Guinea player

“Guinea are a complicated opponent and it will be a very difficult match. We will make more effort because so far, we have demonstrated that when we have the ball, we know how to use it well”.

Kaba Diawara – Guinea coach

“We prepared for this match as usual. At this stage, we can no longer work on the physical aspect. We work on tactics; we insisted on working on what we want to put in place tomorrow. In the round of 16, there are no favorites. We are much better than in 2021 and know each other better. All we want is to win tomorrow. We know that the group stage has nothing to do with the knockout stage. It’s another AFCON which is direct elimination. We just have to win, and I insist on that”.

Serhou Guirassy – ​​Guinea striker

“The state of mind is good, it has always been good, we are all focused on tomorrow’s objective, which is to go beyond this round. We came into this competition to reach a new milestone and we will have to show it tomorrow. Today I feel better. It’s never easy to get back to 100% after a muscle injury.”

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