Mali managed to win their only warm up friendly ahead of the African Cup of Nations 2-1 against Burkina Faso last Saturday, with that result making it three wins, one draw, and one defeat from their last six matches in all competitions.
Their qualification campaign was actually very good though, with them dropping just two points in their six matches and topping the group by five points over Benin below them. To be fair they did have a rather easy group, but it was still an impressive display.
Egypt have one major up and coming talent in Stoke midfielder Ramadan Sobhi, but they also have Mohamed Salah up front. The Roma striker notched five goals in qualifying and has scored 27 times in his 46 appearances for Egypt.
He has also managed eight goals in Serie A this season, so backing him to score anytime at 13/8 looks the best choice for our goalscorer predictions.
Egypt – will be defending a proud Africa Cup of Nations record when they kick off their 2017 campaign against Mali in Port-Gentil on Tuesday.
The Pharaohs have won the competition on each of their last three appearances in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and hold the overall record of seven titles.
Egypt have not qualified for the three editions since, but are back this time around after topping a tough qualifying group that included Nigeria.
They are fancied to go far in the tournament, boasting a squad featuring some high-profile players from European clubs and others with significant international experience.
Mali – are looking to recover from a poor performance in the 2015 tournament, where they drew all three games before exiting in the group stage.
They finished third in both 2012 and 2013, but their lack of a star power – particularly in attack – could be their downfall in trying to match those performances.
Moussa Marega could be the man they turn to – the in-form 25-year-oldhas 10 goals in 12 league matches for Vitoria Guimaraes this season, having been loaned to the club from Porto.
Egypt are unbeaten in their last 19 AFCON games (W15 D4), the longest run in the history of the tournament.
All three of Mali’s group games in 2015 ended 1-1. They were knocked out following a drawing of lots after ending in a perfect tie with Guinea.
Egypt last defeat dates back to January 2004 against Algeria (1-2).
Egypt have also won each of their last nine games at the AFCON, again a record.
Both teams have scored in each of Mali’s last seven AFCON games.
Egypt boss Hector Cuper is taking charge at an AFCON for the first time.