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Ivory Coast vs Morocco Betting: Champions set for another close match

09:17 GMT 24/01/2017
Serey Die Hamza Mendyl Ivory Coast Morocco 12112016
Needing only a draw to progress at the expense of his former team, Al Hain-Cole backs Herve Renard to come back to haunt the Elephants in a tight game

Nothing less than victory will for holders Ivory Coast when they take on Morocco in Tuesday's Africa Cup of Nations clash, looking to stop their title defence from failing at the first hurdle.

Third in Group C with just two points to their name, the Elephants are 5/4 (2.25) favourites with Paddy Power to leapfrog their opponents into the qualification places by coming out on top at the Stade d'Oyem.

After bouncing back from an opening defeat by DR Congo to overcome Togo 3-1 last time out, Herve Renard's men are available at 5/2 (3.50) to take their place in the quarter-finals with another victory over his former team.

A draw would also see the champions head home at the earliest stage and you can get odds of 21/10 (3.10) on them being held to a third consecutive stalemate in Gabon.

As the winning manager in two of the previous three AFCON tournaments, Renard is the last opposite number that Michel Dussuyer would have chosen to come up against for this must-win final group game.

Having ended the West African nation's long wait for a second continental title last time out, the Frenchman is more aware than most of the holders' current strengths and weaknesses, albeit without such key 2015 squad members as Gervinho and brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure.

What's more, Renard boasts the upper hand in a match that his team merely must not lose, leaving him free to simply attempt to avoid defeat against a side who have failed to secure victory in either of their matches so far.

As you would expect from a coach that has won two AFCON finals on penalties after goalless stalemates, the Atlas Lions boss is likely to employ the same cautious tactics that earned a 0-0 draw in November's World Cup qualifier against this opposition.

All things considered, odds of 13/8 (2.63) are not to be missed on a defence marshalled by Juventus's Mehdi Benatia ensuring that under 1.5 goals are scored for the fourth consecutive game against a frustrated Ivory Coast attack.

Under 1.5 goals at 13/8 (2.63) for a 1pt stake with Paddy Power