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AFCON: Elephants hoping to get back on track against Mali

All four of these teams drew 1-1 with their respective Group D opponents in their opening 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) battles, so are all exactly level going into the second round of fixtures.

Coral football writers preview the upcoming encounters between continent giants Ivory Coast go up against Mali next, while Cameroon face Guinea.

Ivory Coast v Mali
Pre-tournament joint-favourites Ivory Coast (now 7/2, behind Algeria) had to dig deep in their opening 2015 AFCON match against unfancied Guinea to draw, thanks to forward Seydou Doumbia (6/4 to score again anytime), who was left out of the World Cup squad.

Gervinho was sent off for slapping an opposition player in the clash of the Elephants fixture, but his nation, who have won this competition just once before, were still expected trample all over Guinea.

Mali (7/2 chances for victory), on paper, should represent even tougher opposition, but have won just one of their total 22 meetings (losing 15) with their neighbours to the south, Ivory Coast (odds-on at 4/5).

The Elephants have not conceded in their last four AFCON games with the Eagles, who drew their first game with Cameroon, and are 11/10 chances to claim another clean sheet.

Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony will be hoping to grab his first goal of this 2015 competition. He is evens to net anytime, and 5/1 to score two or more.

Ivory Coast head coach Herve Renard is also hoping Yaya Toure (7/4 to net anytime) can perform, saying: “Yaya was a bit tired at the end [of the Guinea match] and I felt it was best to bring him off, but he’s a big competitor and he’s ready for the Mali game.

“He has a very big responsibility now. He has the armband and we expect a better performance from him. It’s very important for us that we get it, because it will be very difficult for us if he doesn’t improve.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Bakary Sako is a 7/2 chance to net anytime for Mali, meanwhile.

Cameroon v Guinea
The later fixture sees Cameroon (5/6 for victory) try to topple Guinea (7/2), who have just one win from 10 matches against the Indomitable Lions.

Four of their head-to-heads have been draws, though, including their only AFCON meeting back in 1998, which ended 2-2. A share of the spoils again is priced at 23/10, while that scoreline once more is 22/1.

Four-time AFCON champions Cameroon, who have reached the quarters in each of the last eight tournaments, are without retired stars Samuel Eto’o and Alex Song for this edition. They are having to rely on the likes of Schalke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Porto forward Vincent Aboubakar (both 5/4 to score anytime) for goals now.

For Guinea, meanwhile, Lyon’s Mohamed Yattara is their main man up front. He netted against Ivory Coast, and is a 2/1 chance to get a goal against Cameroon too.