AFCON 2022

Equatorial Guinea is looking for a surprise win vs Mali.

The Round of 16 match between Mali and Equatorial Guinea at the Limbe Stadium will bring the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations to a close on Wednesday night.

The Round of 16 match between Mali and Equatorial Guinea at the Limbe Stadium will bring the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations to a close on Wednesday night. The game begins at 9 p.m. CAT.

Equatorial Guinea has been one of the tournament’s biggest surprises so far, placing second in Group E behind Ivory Coast to secure a spot in the knockout rounds.

They bounced back from an initial loss to the Elephants by stunning incumbent champions Algeria, then clinched progression with a crucial 1-0 win over Sierra Leone last Thursday, thanks to a goal from Pable Ganet.

Nzalang Nacional are the underdogs in this match, but coach Juan Micha Obiang is hoping his team maintains the underdog mentality that has served them so well at the Afcon so far.

“It’s natural to be thrilled when you qualify for the second round of a championship,” the Equatorial Guinea coach stated. “We had a fantastic game; we anticipated the game against Sierra Leone would be difficult, but we prepared well to win.”

“We are well aware that we are not the favorites in this competition, which is why we strive for excellence every day.”

Mali was one of the more outstanding teams in the Group Stage, finishing first in a difficult group ahead of Gambia (who also finished second).

Ibrahima Kone, who scored in the 1-0 win over Tunisia, 1-1 tie with Gambia, and 2-0 win over Mauritania, has been their main man and will be looking to continue his scoring spree on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, coach Mohamed Magassouba is not taking Equatorial Guinea lightly: “It is true that this competition is really high [of a high caliber].” We got off to a great start against Tunisia, Africa’s biggest engine, but were then hung by Gambia, which is also highly catchy, tenacious, and quick.

“And we finished ahead of Mauritania, who are a very excellent squad as well and, understandably, wanted to end on a high note.” We always manage all of the games with [at this] competition.

“Anyway, you’ve noticed that at this Afcon, all nations are fighting, and everyone has a favorite… we’re assuming our roles and working to get there.”

Mali and Equatorial Guinea have met three times in head-to-head matches, the first of which took place in 2009.

The Eagles have a perfect record, having won 3-0 in a friendly in 2009 and then 1-0 in March 2016 in qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations event the following year.

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