Ivory Coast boss Ibrahim Kamara claims African Cup of Nations quarter-final opponents Algeria “do not play only with Riyad Mahrez” ahead of Thursday’s clash in Suez (Ivory Coast 11/4, Algeria 6/5, Draw 2/1 – Match Betting).
The 28-year-old Manchester City star (14/1 – To Score From Outside The Box – Thursday Live Match Specials) highlighted his quality with a stunning goal in Algeria’s 3-0 win against Guinea in the last 16 to make it four consecutive wins in the tournament for the Desert Foxes.
However, while Mahrez is the stand-out name for Algeria, Djamel Belmadi’s side have been strong defensively without conceding a goal so far, while forward Adam Ounas is the competition’s joint-leading scorer with three goals.
As a result, Kamara has warned his Ivory Coast players not to focus all of their attentions on trying to keep Mahrez quiet.
He said: “Algeria is a great team. They do not play only with Riyad Mahrez. If so, the other players would stay in the locker room.
“We will face a team that’s difficult to handle. Djamel Belmadi has done an excellent job since he was made coach. I will not go so far as to say that I would have liked to avoid Algeria, because at this stage of the competition we have no choice.”
Ivory Coast lost to Morocco in the group stages, while they edged past Mali in the last eight thanks to a Wilfried Zaha goal, but Algeria coach Belmadi is expecting a tough test.
He added: “We are now in a new stage where we will face difficulties, so we have to be aware. The players are determined and they will spare no effort to make the people happy.”
The later quarter-final on Thursday sees Tunisia fancied to progress to the semi-finals at the expense of surprise-package Madagascar (Tunisia Evs, Madagascar 7/2, Draw 21/10 – Match Betting).
The Eagles of Carthage have got to this stage without winning a game outright as they followed up three group draws with a penalty shoot-out win against Ghana following a 1-1 draw.
Madagascar topped Group B ahead of Nigeria with two wins and a draw and then defeated DR Congo on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the last 16.
As a result, Tunisia midfielder Naim Sliti has called for improvements from his teammates and guarded against complacency.
He said: “I think we reacted against Ghana after the poor group matches we played. I knew we were going to bounce back. We have to continue like that. We must not be carried away by this victory.”
Meanwhile, Madagascar midfielder Anicet Abel firmly believes they can go on and win the tournament (40/1 – Tournament Outright) after taking the scalp of Congo.
He added: “We are happy with the victory over DR Congo and it shows that we are capable of winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
“Now that we have scaled the Congolese hurdle, we will work very hard for our next game.”