Hosts Looking to Stay Perfect
Hosts Ivory Coast kicked off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a solid 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau. Now, Les Elephants take on one of Africa’s best teams, Nigeria, on the second matchday. Nigeria, hampered by injuries, could only manage a 1-1 draw vs. Equatorial Guinea in their first Group Stage game. With a win, Ivory Coast can clinch a spot in the round of 16 with one game to play. Ahead of Thursday’s match, we’ll check out the Ivory Coast vs Nigeria odds.
Ivory Coast vs Nigeria
Location: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé, Ebimpé, Ivory Coast
Streaming: Live Sports Stream
This is the first chance for soccer betting on Ivory Coast vs Nigeria odds since a 2015 friendly, which Ivory Coast won 1-0. These teams last met in the Africa Cup of Nations in the 2013 Quarter-final. Nigeria came out on top 2-1 and the Super Eagles ended up winning the competition. Ivory Coast have won two of their last three matches vs. Nigeria at AFCON, though.
Ivory Coast Off to Winning Start
Hosts Ivory Coast kicked off the Africa Cup of Nations vs. Guinea-Bissau in front of a full crowd at the Olympic Stadium. Just four minutes in, Seko Fofana put Les Elephants on the board with a right footed strike assisted by Franck Kessie. Fofana had another good chance in the first half but it was saved against the crossbar by Equatorial Guinea keeper Ouparine Djoco. In the second half, with three deft touches, Jean-Philippe Krasso doubled the hosts’ lead.
The match finished 2-0 and Ivory Coast lead Group A through the first matchday. Starting striker Sebastien Haller missed Ivory Coast’s first match due to injury and his status is worth monitoring ahead of Thursday’s game. Krasso filled in well and the Red Star Belgrade striker has proven to be a solid backup option. Aside from boasting one of the best frontlines in the tournament, Ivory Coast have one of the strongest midfield trios around. Fofana, Kessie and Ibrahim Sangare are all excellent players in their own right and they won’t be bullied by Nigeria.
On their World Cup schedule for qualifiers, Ivory Coast have outscored their opponents 11-0 through two matches. Heading into Thursday’s match, Les Elephants are on a seven-game unbeaten run. Wilfried Zaha was a notable absence from the squad but there’s still quite a bit of offensive firepower here.
Injuries Hamper Nigerian Squad
Before the Africa Cup of Nations even began, Nigeria lost exciting Bayer Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface to injury. Boniface, Wilfred Ndidi and Umar Sadiq aren’t with the squad due to various injuries. Meanwhile, attacker Kelechi Iheanacho is on the roster but he missed Nigeria’s first match vs Equatorial Guinea. Nigeria’s squad, hampered by injuries, were underwhelming on Sunday.
They fell behind 1-0 in the first half but Victor Osimhen managed to equalize on a header just a couple of minutes later. Osimhen, one of the tournament’s brightest stars and the 2023 African Player of the Year, missed a clear cut chance in the second half that would have put the Super Eagles ahead. The match, which Nigeria were expected to win, finished all square at one. It was a disappointing start, but Nigeria are still very much in the running for the knockout stage.
Osimhen will continue to be the focus of Nigeria’s attack. He’s scored 21 goals in 28 appearances for the Super Eagles and was one of the key reasons Napoli won the Serie A title in 2022-23. Ademola Lookman is another player to watch out for, as he’s Atalanta’s leading scorer this season. In the lead up to the tournament, Nigeria were shaky and they’re now winless in their last four matches. Still, they did finish in first place in the Group A Africa Cup of Nations qualification standings.
Match Analysis & Odds
The Ivory Coast vs Nigeria odds imply the hosts have a 46.5 percent chance to win Thursday’s match. Ivory Coast are +115 moneyline favorites, while Nigeria come in as +285 underdogs. The Super Eagles have never defeated Les Elephants on Ivorian soil but a win would be massive for them here. Bettors can take Ivory Coast pk, -0.5 at -120 odds, while Nigeria pk, +0.5 sits at +105.
In eight previous meetings at AFCON, this fixture has averaged just 1.5 goals. For this one, over 1.5, 2 goals displays -120 odds. Ivory Coast enter this match on a seven-game scoring streak and they’ve conceded just three goals during that time. If Haller can suit up for Les Elephants, it could provide a different dimension for their attack.
A draw is priced at +200 but none of the last six meetings between these sides have finished all square. In a game of potentially tight margins, individual errors could end up making the difference.