The Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara plays host to the highly-anticipated clash between African hotshots Ivory Coast and Cameroon on Monday.
With 10 World Cup appearances between themselves, the teams know a lot about successful World Cup qualifying campaigns and are favourites to progress from the group.
Ivory Coast got their qualifying journey underway with a goalless draw against the Mambas of Mozambique at Estadio do Zimpeto on Friday.
Patrice Beaumelle’s men were on top for the majority of the contest but failed to find the all-important goal needed to claim all three points.
However, the Elephants have extended their current streak of matches without a defeat to seven since a 1-0 loss to Japan back in November 2020.
Monday’s hosts now prepare for the visit of a Cameroon side who they have beaten in each of the last two competitive encounters involving the teams.
Having not lost on home turf in three years, Ivory Coast will back themselves to spark celebrations among their supporters at the sound of the final whistle in Abidjan.
Cameroon made an ideal start to life in Group D, easing past the Flames of Malawi in a 2-0 triumph at the Stade Omnisport Paul Biya on Friday.
Despite not being at their best, Toni Conceicao’s men got the job done through first-half goals from Vincent Aboubakar and Michael Ngadeu.
The Indomitable Lions, who currently hold the record for the most appearances of any African nation at the World Cup finals with seven, have stolen an early march on the side expected to push them all the way for a spot in Qatar next year.
With the teams scheduled to face off again eight days after Monday’s clash, the visitors could potentially open up a significant lead over their hosts after just three rounds of matches.
Ivory Coast World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:
Ivory Coast form (all competitions):
Cameroon World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:
Cameroon form (all competitions):
We say: Ivory Coast 2-1 Cameroon
As with every high-profile contest, both sides will be gunning for all three points in a bid to strengthen their position in the group. An end-to-end affair is expected here with goals at both ends, and we are tipping the home side to carry the day, albeit by only a narrow margin.