Equatorial Guinea looking to build on Ivory Coast upset with Guinea scalp



Posted Sunday, January 28, 2024 by PA

Equatorial Guinea looking to build on Ivory Coast upset with Guinea scalp

Equatorial Guinea boss Juan Micha believes his side can continue surprising people at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The team known as ‘National Thunder’ caused an AFCON storm by beating hosts Ivory Coast 4-0 to top Group A.

While Ivory Coast dropped to third spot to set up a daunting last-16 tie against reigning champions Senegal, Equatorial Guinea will meet Guinea in Abidjan on Sunday.

Micha said: “With our humility, we made the effort to reach as far as possible against the big teams. We are a humble family who work every day to improve.

“We are working to reach the level of the big guys and we will approach the match like any other, respecting our opponent.

“We want to believe in ourselves and try to win every time.

“We are in the round of 16, we have to go there with certainty and confidence. I hope this match will be in our favour.”

On the Ivory Coast victory, which shook African football the length and breadth of the continent, Micha added: “We must forget this match and plan for the rest of the competition.

Equatorial Guinea looking to build on Ivory Coast upset with Guinea scalp
Emilio Nsue has scored five goals at the Africa Cup of Nations for Equatorial Guinea (Sunday Alamba/AP)

“Equatorial Guinea was not the favourite at the start. We are working seriously because this match will not be easy for us.

“We have already forgotten the euphoria after the victory against Ivory Coast, we have to fight again to go ahead and qualify for the quarter-finals.”

Equatorial Guinea drew 1-1 with Nigeria and beat Guinea-Bissau 4-2 before dismantling Ivory Coast.

Veteran captain Emilio Nsue has scored five of their nine goals and is among the leading contenders for the Golden Boot.

Ndaye Mulamba holds the record of nine goals in one AFCON for Zaire in 1974.

Equatorial Guinea looking to build on Ivory Coast upset with Guinea scalp
Equatorial Guinea players celebrate during their 4-0 victory over tournament hosts (Sunday Alamba/AP)

Guinea finished third in Group C behind Senegal and Cameroon and have been caught up in a reported bonus row.

But head coach Kaba Diawara said at his pre-match press conference: “We have worked on the tactics to put in place, we are ready.

“We are professionals, we remain focused on the match against Equatorial Guinea.

“The bounty story? We focus on the pitch, not what happens off it. Everyone is there, if we win, it will be the first time in our history to win a direct elimination match.

“We are on a mission and the responsibility we have, the players know it, the staff too.”

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