Mali and Equatorial Guinea face off in the AFCON 2021 Round of 16 on the back of impressive shows in the group stage matches. Mali managed seven points in F and Equatorial Guinea had six points in Group E. In each of Mali’s group games, they won a penalty, a testimony of their attacking prowess. Of the four goals they scored in the group stage, only one came in open play, against Mauritania as they won 2-0. That also happened to be the only time they scored more than a goal in their last four matches. Each of their last four matches have ended in under 2.5 goals while they have eight clean sheets in their last nine matches and have conceded one goal only in that period. In attack, while they have some consistency, failing to score just twice in the last 10 games, they have managed more than a goal in only three of the 10 games.
Equatorial Guinea on their part, still go to this game as dark horses. Very few tipped them to get this far but here they are, among the matches that have propelled them to this stage is a win over reigning champions Algeria. Theirs was a slow start to this competition, losing to Ivory Coast in the opening game, before registering wins over Algeria and Sierra Leone. Their last two wins came with clean sheets and made it three in the last five. None of their last eight matches has produced over 2.5 goals and Equatorial Guinea have scored more than one goal in just one of their last 10 matches. In those 10 matches, Equatorial Guinea have failed to score in just two.
Low scoring matches have been regular for these two nations; most of their recent games have ended in under 2.5 goals and even at AFCON all their matches have seen under 2.5 goals. With this being a knockout game, we expect the teams to put up more defensively thus under 2.5 goals can pass here.