The fourth match in the round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations will see Egypt take on Congo DR at Stade Laurent Pokou in the evening of Sunday January 28, 2024.
The winner of this match will move on to the quarter-final, where they will face either Equatorial Guinea or Guinea, who square off earlier in the day in Abidjan.
Before the start of the tournament, few would have envisioned that Egypt, the seven-time champions, would secure qualification to the last 16 of this competition without winning a single match in the group stages.
However, that is exactly what happened as The Pharaohs managed just three points in their three group stage matches, drawing each of their games by the same scoreline of 2#2.
During the group stages, Rui Vitoria’s side displayed a mixed bag of performances, which included a resilient showing against Ghana, where they had to come from behind twice in the game, while against Cape Verde, they surrendered the lead on two occasions.
After a frantic end to their final group stage fixture, the Egyptians will be hoping for a more straightforward result here, but history suggests that may not be the case, with four out of their last seven AFCON knockout ties having gone to a penalty shootout.
However, history will also give The Pharaohs confidence heading into Sunday’s showdown, as they have only lost one of their five Africa Cup of Nations encounters against this opponent while winning three and drawing the other.
Meanwhile, DR Congo’s passage to the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations was very similar to Egypt’s as they also failed to win a match in the group stages, drawing each of their three round-robin fixtures.
The Leopards kicked off their AFCON campaign with a 1#1 draw against Zambia before holding the group winners Morocco to a 1#1 draw and eventually got over the line with a stalemate against Tanzania in match three.
With those results, Sebastien Desabre’s side have now failed to win any of their last six matches in all competitions and have only managed one victory in their last 10, which came against Mauritania in World Cup qualifying back in November.
Of all 16 teams that qualified for the round of 16 in this year’s AFCON, DR Congo scored the second-fewest goals in the group stage matches with only Namibia posting a lower tally over the same period.
The Leopards have advanced from the group stage in their last four AFCON appearances, but they were ousted in the first knockout match in both 2019, drawing 2#2 and losing 4#2 on penalties against Madagascar and 2017; losing 2#1 against Ghana in the quarter-final.
Egypt will remain without their talisman Mohamed Salah, who sustained an injury against Ghana, and the side will likely rely on Mostafa Mohamed to lead the attack, having scored in each of the three group-stage matches.
Vitoria will also have to make do without first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy, who picked up an injury in the last match against Cape Verde, which should see Mohamed Abou Gabal line up between the sticks in this match.
In addition, midfielder Emam Ashour has also been ruled out of this match after suffering a concussion while trying to perform an overhead kick in training in midweek.
For DR Congo, defender Henock Inonga was forced to sit out their last match against Tanzania due to a head injury, and it is still unclear if he will be fit to feature in Sunday’s fixture against The Pharaohs.
Yoane Wissa scored The Leopards’ opening goal in this competition and will spearhead the attack once again, while Cedric Bakambu could be brought back into the starting 11 to support the Brentford attacker.
Egypt possible starting line-up
Gabal; Hany, Hegazy, Abdelmonem, Fotouh; Fathi, Attia, Elneny; Zizo, Mohamed, Marmoush
DR Congo possible starting line-up
Mpasi; Kalulu, Mbemba, Batubinsika, Masuaku; Pickel, Moutoussamy; Silas, Kakuta, Bakambu; Wissa
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