Naby Keita of Guinea (L) and Mubarak Wakaso of Ghana (R) during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations football match between Ghana and Guinea at the Malabo Stadium in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on 1 February 2015 ©Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
Thursday Nov 15, 2018. 10:00
Guinea will look to complete a ‘double’ over Ivory Coast when the teams meet for a Group H 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Stade du 28 September in Conakry on Sunday, 18 November 2018, kick-off at 19h00 CAT.
Guinea famously defeated the Elephants 3-2 in Bouake in the first round of group stage qualifiers in June 2017. The Syli Nationale came from 0-1 and 1-2 down to defeat their hosts through goals from Sadio Diallo, Francois Kamano and Naby Keita.
It was just a fourth win for Guinea in 19 matches against Ivory Coast (according to FIFA’s statistics database) and the result set them on the path to qualifying for their 12th AFCON tournament and a first since 2015.
Paul Put’s team will secure a place at Cameroon 2019 with a win, while a draw will also be enough if Central African Republic don’t win the weekend’s other Group H match in Butare against hosts Rwanda (Sunday at 15h30 CAT).
Guinea produced solid performances in their back-to-back matches against Rwanda in October, winning 2-0 at home before playing out a 1-1 draw in the return, while Ivory Coast performed similarly against CAR, picking up a 4-0 home win and 0-0 away draw.
The results last month left the West African pair in strong positions to qualify: Guinea are top of the table with 10 points, while the Elephants are second with seven points. An away win for Ibrahim Kamara’s side on Sunday will see them secure passage to next year’s tournament (which would be a 23rd overall and an eighth in succession).
Ivory Coast have named a powerful squad which includes stars such as Nicolas Pepe, Franck Kessie and Jean-Michael Seri, while Guinea coach Put has defended his inclusion of German-based defender Simon Falette, who has seen little action with Eintracht Frankfurt this season.
The Syli Nationale will look to Liverpool star Keita to drive them forward from the engine room, with the likes of Lass Bangoura, Kamano, Issiaga Sylla and Naby Yattara providing a strong ‘spine’ to the team.
Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed will take charge of the match in Conakry on Sunday.