Ivory Coast vs. Tunisia: Africa Cup of Nations Preview, Team News, Predicted XIs

Dan Fitch@@DJFitchFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2013

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 22: Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations match between Ivory Coast and Togo from Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
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With both the Ivory Coast and Tunisia having won their opening games in Group D, this could well be the game which decides who comes top.

In Ivory Coast's opener against Togo, Yaya Toure gave the Elephants a perfect start to the tournament as he struck an eighth-minute goal. 

However, the Ivory Coast failed to build on their early lead as they gave a laboured performance and Togo equalised just on the stroke of halftime. It was not until two minutes from time that Ivory Coast took the lead again, as Gervinho struck a spectacular late volley from a Toure free kick.

Tunisia left it even later to grab their winner in a 1-0 victory over Algeria. They were abject in the first-half and though they improved in the second, it took until the 90th minute until the highly-rated Youssef Msakni curled a beautiful long-range effort to win the game for Tunisia.

Both teams know they must improve when they meet on Saturday. Didier Drogba had a very quiet game by his standards for the Ivory Coast and it may take him time to get back into the rhythm of a higher level of football, after his spell in China.

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Ivory Coast Team News

There are no injury problems for the Ivory Coast and they have plenty of options within their star-studded squad  if they want to make changes after the poor performance against Togo.

Having won that game though, it's likely that they will line up with the same XI that started the opening game.

(4-4-2) Barry; Tiene, Eboue, K.Toure, Bamba; Zokora, Y.Toure, Gervinho, Gradel; Konan, Drogba

Tunisia Team News

The big blow for Tunisia is the fact that they will be without there striker Issam Jemaa. The Kuwait SC forward is Tunisia's all-time leading scorer with 34 goals in 70 games. 

Jemaa picked up an injury early on in the match against Algeria and was replaced by Hamdi Harbaoui, who is likely to deputise from the start against the Ivory Coast.

(4-4-2) Mathlouthi; Ifa, Chamman, Hichri, Abdennour; Mouelhi, Traoui, Mouelhi, Msakni, Hammami; Khelifa, Harbaoui


Both teams should progress to the knockout stages of the tournament, but it will be Ivory Coast that tops the group.

It should be a tight game, but Ivory Coast are a physically stronger team than Tunisia and have the firepower to win this game. We're going with a 1-0 win for The Elephants. 


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