AFCON Semi-Final: Cote d’Ivoire Vs DR Congo – Facts And Figures

Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara

BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI – As the hosts, Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire take on Leopards of DR Congo in the semi-finals of the ongoing TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations (FCON) in Abidjan today, Wednesday, February 7, 2024, here are some interesting facts and figures to consider.

The venue of the match is Alassane Ouattara Stadium, commonly known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé. Commissioned in 2020, the Stadium, formerly called the National Stadium of the Ivory Coast, is a multi-purpose complex located in Ebimpé and Anyama, northern Abidjan.

With an impressive record of hosting major football matches, including home matches of the Ivorian national football team, the Elephants, the Stadium is owned by the Government of Ivory Coast. It was designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, this largest stadium in Ivory Coast has 60,000 seats.

Also considered one of the most modern stadiums in Africa, the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, strategically situated away from Abidjan, is positioned between the communes of Ebimpé and Anyama

● Côte d’Ivoire have faced DR Congo five times previously at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Winning two; Drawing two; and Losing One). This is their first encounter since a 2-2 draw in the 2017 group stages.

● In the knockout phase, the only previous meeting between Côte d’Ivoire and DR Congo was at the semi-final stage in 2015; the Elephants won 3-1 and went on to win the trophy that year.

● This is Côte d’Ivoire’s 10th appearance in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, becoming the fifth nation to play in as many as 10 semi-finals, along with Nigeria (15, including this year), Egypt (13), Ghana (12) and Cameroon (10). It’s their first since 2015 when they beat this year’s opponents DR Congo 3-1 under Herve Renard.

● DR Congo have reached their sixth CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-final – they have won the previous two against the hosts (v Ethiopia in 1968 and Egypt in 1974) but have never won a semi-final match when not playing that year’s hosts, losing all three (1972, 1998 and 2015).

● On the last three occasions the CAF Africa Cup of Nations host nation has reached the semi-final, they have been eliminated without scoring a goal: Ghana in 2008 (lost 1-0 to Cameroon); Equatorial Guinea in 2015 (lost 3-0 to Ghana); and Cameroon in 2021 (drew 0-0 with Egypt and lost 3-1 on pens). The last host to reach the final was Egypt in 2006.

● Côte d’Ivoire reached the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-final thanks to a 2-1 win over Mali, which saw them score in the 90th and 120th minutes to win. They were only the second team to score in the 90th and 120th minutes in the same AFCON match, along with Morocco vs Algeria in 2004.

● Should DR Congo reach the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations final, it would be their first final since 1974. This would represent the biggest gap between a nation reaching AFCON finals, with Tunisia currently having the longest wait between 1965 and 1996.

● Côte d’Ivoire could become the first nation to reach the final of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations despite suffering a four-goal defeat earlier in the tournament (lost 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea) since Nigeria in 1990, who lost 5-1 to Algeria in the group stages before facing them again in the final that year and losing 1-0.

● 20-year-old Oumar Diakité scored Côte d’Ivoire’s 120th-minute winner against Mali in the 2023 AFCON quarter-final, becoming the Elephants’ youngest AFCON scorer since Tchiressoua Guel in 1994 (18 years, 31 days) and only the second player in the last 11 editions under the age of 21 to score a winning goal in the knockout stages, along with Dango Ouattara for Burkina Faso vs Tunisia in 2022 (quarter-final).

● Only Angola’s Fredy (11) has created more chances at the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations than DR Congo’s Arthur Masuaku (10), with Masuaku playing more passes into the opposition box than any other player (53). Despite this, he is yet to register an assist.

● Yoane Wissa has scored two of DR Congo’s five goals at this year’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations, scoring against Zambia and Guinea. Only four players have ever netted in three separate games at a single AFCON for the Leopards: Mayanga Maku in 1972 (3), Ndaye Mulamba in 1974 (5), Jerry Tondelua in 1998 (3) and Junior Kabananga in 2017 (3). – With report

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