Sierra Leone vs Equatorial Guinea and pre-match analysis
History awaits as Leone Stars of Sierra Leone are looking for their first-ever appearance at the African Cup of Nations knockout stages, whilst the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea are looking for their third appearance at the African Cup of Nations knockout stages. Leone Stars of Sierra Leone have played six games against Equatorial Guinea, wining FOUR (W4, D1, L1).
|08 Sep 2002||Equatorial Guinea v Sierra Leone||W||1-3||Africa Cup of Nations|
|22 Jun 2003||Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea||W||2-0||Africa Cup of Nations|
|01 Jun 2008||Equatorial Guinea v Sierra Leone||L||2-0||FIFA World Cup|
|06 Sep 2008||Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea||W||2-1||FIFA World Cup|
|09 Jun 2012||Equatorial Guinea v Sierra Leone||D||2-2||FIFA World Cup|
|07 Sep 2013||Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea||W||3-2||FIFA World Cup|
Sierra Leone made a historic return to the competition after 26 years of absence after beating their West African counterpart Benin 1-0 in the last qualifying group games. Sierra Leone came second in their group with Nigeria topping the group. But the Leone Stars have made an impressive start since the start of the TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021. Sierra Leone played their first AFCON match against defending champions Algeria, which ended in a goalless draw. The match against Algeria is one of the best performances by Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone’s 22-year-old goalkeeper Mohamed N. Kamara alias Fabianski made impressive saves (7) during the march against Algeria, the most by a goalkeeper in an AFCON game since 2015. Leone Stars impressive run continued as they held The Elephants of Ivory Coast to a 2-2 draw coming twice behind. With two incredible draws against pre-tournament favorites, the Sierra Leone national team has gone from ”underdogs” to that team no one would wish to play against.
On the other hand, Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea made their last AFCON appearance in 2015. The Nzalang Nacional lost their first group game of the 2021 TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations against Ivory Coast by a goal to nil. In their second group game against the Desert Lions of Algeria, the Nzalang Nacional shocked the football world as they beat reigning champions Algeria, ending Algeria’s 34-match unbeaten run.
Group E is officially the group of death in this year’s AFCON tournament, with Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Algeria, and Equatorial Guinea all awaiting their fate on the final day of group matches. Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Algeria, and Equatorial Guinea could all finish top of Group E. If Sierra Leone wins against Equatorial Guinea with a 2-0 goal margin, then Algeria draws with Ivory Coast, automatically Sierra Leone will go top of the group. If Algeria wins against Ivory Coast, then Sierra Leone draws against Equatorial Guinea, Algeria will go top of the group. The same applies to Ivory Coast and Equatorial. Sierra Leone needs a WIN to secure automatic qualification to the knockout stages. A draw against Equatorial Guinea will see them out of the competition IF Algeria wins. But if Algeria draws against Ivory Coast, then Sierra Leone draws against Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone will end up in the third position which may qualify them to the knockout stages of the competition as one of the best losers provided Nigeria win against Guinea Bissau. Equatorial Guinea could qualify to the knockout stages of the competition with just a draw; the same applies to Ivory Coast.
The last group games in Group E will decide who will top the group, who will qualify as the best loser, and who will go home. It’s all to play for on the last day. Can Sierra Leone make their first-ever AFCON round of 16 appearance?
This is a tight group. Our objective is to go through. The team spirit drives our team, we want to qualify. We adapt our strategy to the players we have, to play in an uninhibited way while respecting the opponent, a big team like Equatorial Guinea. John Keister (Coach, Sierra Leone)
We defeated Algeria, the best national team in Africa, but we will stay on earth. We will play against Sierra Leone, a brave team, and we will put all the chances on our side. What happens on the field is what counts. Our strength is the collective spirit. Each match has its story. We will fight with our means, a system of play, and ambition. Juan Micha Obiang (Coach, Equatorial Guinea)