Ivory Coast were eliminated by eventual winners in the 2019 AFCON and as they go to their second game of the 2021 edition hoping to mail a second round place, with hopes of going much further this time. They will be up against Sierra Leone in Group E, where Ivory Coast lead on three points and Sierra Leone have one point. In their opening game, Ivory Coast beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0, their eighth AFCON game in 10 to produce under 2.5 goals. The Ivorians have scored more than a goal in just two of their last 10 AFCON matches. In their last 13 matches, Ivory Coast have lost just once.
Sierra Leone last participated at AFCON in 1996 but they announced their return with a gritty performance against holders Algeria, drawing 0-0. They need at least a draw here, but a win will almost guarantee them a place in the second round. The issue with Sierra Leone though, is that they aren’t the greatest scorers around. They have one win in the last 11 matches and in the last three games they haven’t scored. They’ve actually failed to score in six of their last 10 matches and eight of their last 10 games have ended in under 2.5 goals. These two nations have met four times before and Sierra Leone have no win; they lost twice and managed just one clean sheet, while conceding eight.
Ivory Coast are clear favorites here and have the better players. However, this game, like most at the competition, will seemingly be another low scoring affair. Ivory Coast haven’t been very prolific at AFCON while Sierra Leone generally haven’t been scoring a lot. Under 2.5 goals looks likely in this game.