The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations third-place match features South Africa against Congo DR at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams are looking to bounce back from semi-final losses, with South Africa falling to Nigeria in penalties and Congo DR losing to the host nation, Ivory Coast.
South Africa might be tired after playing extra time in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
They lost to Nigeria on Wednesday despite a strong start and a tactical switch that caught the Super Eagles off guard.
South Africa played well but couldn’t take the lead, even though they created good chances against Nigeria’s defense.
They managed to tie the game in the last minute with a penalty but missed a chance to win it right before the final whistle.
The match went to extra time, and despite aiming for penalties, South Africa’s goalkeeper, who was a hero in the previous round, couldn’t stop any of Nigeria’s shots.
This loss stopped South Africa from reaching their first AFCON final since 1998 and competing for their second title. They now aim to secure third place.
Congo DR, on the other hand, didn’t face as tough a defeat but still missed out on their chance for a first title since 1974 after losing to Ivory Coast.
They’ve been knocked out in the semi-finals three times recently and are looking to end this tournament on a high note.
Despite struggling through the tournament, Congo DR hopes to repeat their third-place finishes from 1998 and 2015.
South Africa Africa Cup of Nations form: L W D W W L
Congo DR Africa Cup of Nations form: D D D W W L
South Africa’s coach might go back to using four defenders after trying to match Nigeria’s formation in their last game.
Siyanda Xulu is likely to stay on the team after another player was sent off against Nigeria.
Gael Kakuta was substituted early in their last game, and Theo Bongonda, who replaced him, is expected to start against Congo DR.
Congo DR’s coach might rely on his key players who have been on the field throughout the tournament for one more match.
South Africa possible starting lineup:
Mudau, Xulu, Mvala, Modiba;
Morena, Zwane, Tau;
Congo DR possible starting lineup:
Kalulu, Mbemba, Inonga, Masuaku;
Elia, Bongonda, Wissa;
Prediction: South Africa 1-2 Congo DR
After enduring 120 minutes of play in their last two matches, South Africa may be running on empty, which Congo DR could take advantage of to clinch third place in the tournament.