MX23RW : Saturday, December 9 02:11:42| >> :600:1598145:1598145:
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Ivory Coast national football team
Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying | Group Stage
Sep 9, 2023 at 5pm UK
Stade Rene Gaillard
Lesotho national football team
Ivory Coast
1 - 0
Sangare (16')
Adingra (39')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Kamela (40'), Lesaoana (60')

Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Lesotho - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying clash between Ivory Coast and Lesotho, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Ivory Coast and Lesotho draw the curtains in Group H of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they face off at the Stade Laurent Pokou on Saturday.

Having won each of their two games in the qualifiers, Les Elephants will head into the weekend looking to finish with a 100% home record and move to the top of the standings.

Match preview

Ivory Coast's Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on January 20, 2022© Reuters

Ivory Coast were handed their first defeat of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as they were thrashed 3-0 by a spirited Zambia side at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.

Serge Aurier scored a 31st-minute own goal to swing the game in the Chipolopolo's favour before Patson Daka and Kings Kangwa scored second-half goals to cap off a solid team performance.

Prior to that, Les Elephants suffered a quarter-final exit from the African Nations Championship courtesy of a 1-0 loss against Algeria in January, before picking up consecutive wins over Comoros in their AFCON qualifying double header in March.

Ivory Coast, who will be hosting the 2023 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations next January, have picked up three wins and one draw from their five matches to collect 10 points and sit second in Group H, two points off first-placed Zambia.

After two consecutive games on the road, Jean-Louis Gasset's men now return home, where they are on a run of five wins in their last six matches across all competitions, with a 3-0 friendly loss against Mauritania on January 9 being the exception.

Lesotho, on the other hand, saw their dreams of a first-ever COSAFA Cup title come to an end last time out as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Zambia in the final.

Twenty-nine-year-old Wisdom Moyela grabbed the headlines at the King Zwelithini Stadium as he scored the all-important goal in the 77th minute to hand the Chipolopolo their seventh COSAFA Cup crown.

Veselin Jelusic's men now turn their attention to the AFCON qualifiers, where they have endured another underwhelming run and find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Group H table.

The Likuena, who are still in search of their first-ever appearance at the continental showpiece, are one just seven sides yet to pick up a win in the qualifiers, having picked up one draw and lost four of their five matches so far.

While Lesotho will be looking to bow out of the qualifiers with their head held high, they have lost each of their last four away games in the AFCON qualifiers since the start of 2020.

Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Ivory Coast form (all competitions):

Lesotho Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Lesotho form (all competitions):

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Team News

Ivory Coast's Serge Aurier is shown a red card by referee Erik Lambrechts as Ivory Coast's Max Gradel reacts on March 29, 2022© Reuters

Gasset has named a 25-man squad for Saturday's game and the friendly against Mali on September 12, with the likes of Sebastien Haller, Franck Kessie and the Nottingham Forest defensive duo of Aurier and Willy Boly headlining the squad.

With the omission of Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha, Christian Kouame and West Ham United man Maxwell Cornet should join Haller in attack. Ibrahim Sangare, who recently completed a summer move to Nottingham Forest, should team up with Kessie in attack.

Teenage centre-back Ousmane Diomande has earned his debut call-up while Reims striker Oumar Diakite could also make his debut after pulling out of the squad back in June.

Like the hosts, Comoros have called up an experienced squad for Saturday's game, including the likes of midfielder Lisema Lebokollane and 32-year-old Tshwarelo Bereng making the cut.

Malouzini Lesaoana and Lebokollane should form a team in the centre of the park once again, while we extend a back four of Thabang Malane, Kopano Tseka, Basia Makepe and Rethabile Rasethunts.

Ivory Coast possible starting lineup:
Sangare; Aurier, Doumbia, Bolly, Ndicka; Sangare, Kessie, Diakite; Cornet, Haller, Gradel

Lesotho possible starting lineup:
Moerane; Malane, Tseka, Makepe, Rasethuntsa; Lesaoana, Lebokollane; Bereng, Mokhachane, Thabantso; Motebang

SM words green background

We say: Ivory Coast 1-2 Lesotho

Ivory Coast will be licking their lips as they go up against an opposite side who have failed to win their five games at the qualifiers so far. Given the gulf in quality and experience between the two sides, we fancy the Black Stars claiming all three points in this one.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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