Cote d'Ivoire face test of verve in Cup of Nations last eight clash with Mali

If hosts Cote d'Ivoire do lift the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations title on 11 February, a feature length movie will surely follow documenting the vicissitudes of a campaign swinging from elation to desolation and back along the glistening road to glory.

Before such an apotheosis, the no small matter of three matches starting with a quarter-final against Mali on Saturday afternoon in Bouaké.

Cote d'Ivoire will enter the clash at the Stade de la Paix as favourites - a tag contrasting with their status for their last-16 game against defending champions Senegal.

For that match on 29 January they were in a shambles. A week earlier the Ivorians suffered their worst home defeat when Equatorial Guinea thrashed them 4-0 in the final game of their pool.

The hosts and their hordes of fans were forced to wait 48 hours as the other groups played out to discover whether they could advance to the knockout stages of their own billion dollar party as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Morocco's 1-0 win over Zambia in San Pedro on 24 January offered them the ticket and launched huge celebrations across the land even though Senegal awaited them as victors of Group C with steely-eyed wins in all of their pool games.


But the charges of newly installed coach Emerse Faé's profited from an unadventurous Senegal side to score a late penalty and then claim a penalty shoot-out after the match ended 1-1.

Faé has spent the time between the two ties calming expectations that a third Cup of Nations trphy - to add to the 1992 and 2015 titles - is a mere formality.

Read more on RFI English

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