The 30 June Stadium is the venue on Sunday night as Algeria and Guinea face off for their Last 16 clash in the AFCON 2019. Each of these two have come out victorious once in the last two meetings between the pair, both results finishing 2-1 with the most recent taking place in 2017. Algeria ended the group stage as leaders of Group C by three points, above Senegal and Kenya in second and third, whereas Guinea only got third spot behind Nigeria and Madagascar after raking in four points.
It’s almost been a year since Algeria were last on the wrong end of a scoreline, with Benin the team who beat them most recently in October. Since the tournament’s beginning, Algeria have bagged six goals and kept a clean sheet in all their matches. In the opener versus Kenya, they netted first through a penalty from Baghdad Bounedjah and nine minutes later Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez made it 2-0 to seal all three points just before half time. The clash with Senegal was rather more difficult to call as neither team could break the deadlock in the entire first half, however the second forty-five had barely got going before Mohamed Youcef Belaili struck the ball past Edouard Mendy. That goal was enough to see them earn maximum points and prepare for the final group fixture with belief that top spot was theirs. Tanzania proved to be comfortable opposition for Algeria and the game was over at the interval as Islam Slimani, Adam Cunas and Adam Ounas each scored once, making sure of their team’s position atop the Group C standings.
Guinea endured a painful run up to the AFCON, not winning any of their four preceding matches. They took that poor form into the tournament at the start too, first playing out a stalemate with eventual table toppers Madagascar after taking the lead through Sory Kaba early on. Anicet Abel and Carolus Andriamahitsinoro put Madagascar in front, but midway through the second half Francois Kamano placed the ball in the net from twelve yards to rescue a point. Nigeria were too much for Guinea however, and their pressure paid off when Kenneth Omeruo grabbed the winner seventeen minutes from the end of normal time, assisted by Moses Simon. Guinea were forced into needing a win in the last matchup, which saw them take on Burundi. Christophe Nduwarugira was sent off for Burundi twelve minutes into the game, and it was just over ten minutes later when Mohamed Yattara put Guinea in the driving seat. Yattara scored his second fifty-two minutes into the tie, and that was all that was necessary for Guinea to seal their place here.
Algeria will have everyone available for selection for this match, so manager Djamel Belmadi will feel his side have a slight edge over their opposition. Considering how well Algeria performed in each of the two formations used so far, it’s difficult to predict which they’ll opt for. We are going for the 4-3-3 as it has seen them score the most, while also maintaining clean sheets along the way. Rafik Halliche, Mehdi Tahrat, Mehdi Zeffane and Mohamed Fares make up the four man defense, while Ismael Bennacer, Mehdi Abeid and Hichem Boudaoi will start as a trio further up the pitch. In attack, we expect Riad Mahrez and Adam Ounas to begin either side of Islam Slimani through the centre of attack.
Guinea are likely to be without star man Naby Keita for the remainder of the AFCON, unless they decide to rush him back from injury, just as they did earlier in the tournament. As he wasn’t ready, his injury is now worse and manager Paul Put can only have himself to blame for losing his best player. It’s quite clear that Guinea will go for a 4-2-3-1 as it’s the sole formation in which they found three points up to now, seeing off Burundi by utilizing it. Simon Falette and Ernest Seka make up the defensive duo supported by Mikael Dyrestam and Issiaga Sylla, while Amadou Diawara and Ibrahima Cisse sit in deeper midfield. Ibrahima Traore, Kamano and Yattara should play as a three man attacking midfield behind striker Sory Kaba.
As Guinea will be without their standout individual in Keita, it will be extremely difficult for them to halt Algeria’s pacey attacker. Although they will be pumped up for the game, we feel that Algeria simply have too much quality in their ranks to get beaten at this point of the tournament, so we’re going for Algeria to win to nil at 5/4 with Skybet. Riyad Mahrez and co have already won by 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 so far, and we expect them to stay at that level and put at least three in the back of Guinea’s net due to the difference in talent between the two. Skybet have Algeria to win by three or more goals at 7/1. Adam Ounas excelled last time out versus Tanzania, bagging a first half brace. Here, we can see him adding to his impressive tally and Skybet are pricing the forward at 5/2 to score anytime during this one.