Preview: Guinea-Mali

All four teams are tied on points and goal difference, meaning a win here will be enough to send either side through

A wide-open Africa Cup of Nations Group D is set for a thrilling climax as Guinea face Mali in a winner-takes-all contest on Wednesday.

All four matches in Group D have produced 1-1 draws, meaning the victors of the clash in Mongomo are guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the African showpiece.

A draw could potentially see both teams book a spot in the last eight, depending on the result of the pool’s other clash between the Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

Guinea head coach Michel Dussuyer is leaving nothing to chance, though, and is desperate for his team to step up and prove they can compete in big matches.

“We believe in our qualities as a team,” he said. “We want to raise our level and this kind of match can help us progress.

“We respect all the teams in the competition but we are afraid of nobody.”

In Mali, Guinea face the lowest Fifa-ranked side in the group.

However, it would be foolhardy to rule Henryk Kasperczak’s men out of contention, particularly considering they would have already progressed to the quarter-finals had they not twice conceded late goals.

Mali opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Cameroon, in which they were denied by an 84th-minute leveller from Ambroise Oyongo.

A similar scenario occurred last Saturday as Bakary Sako’s early goal appeared set to earn a win over the Ivory Coast, only for Max Gradel to restore parity with just three minutes of regular time remaining.

Mali captain Seydou Keita voiced his frustration at the team’s failure to see out those games.

“We are very disappointed,” he added. “When you look at our two games against Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, it is only small details that cost us the win.

“Once more, we gave up two deserved points.”

Keita is well aware of the threat posed by Guinea, but the midfielder is confident the team have come up with a game plan to book a spot in the knockout stages.

“We do not underrate the Guinea team because we know they can be very dangerous,” he said. “But we have mapped out a plan to handle them.”