Alexandria, June 27: Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis insists his side will not become complacent and underestimate Burundi after their promising start at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Making their first ever appearance at the competition, Barea claimed a commendable 2-2 draw with Guinea in their Group B opener, meaning a victory against Burundi will put them in the driving seat to qualify with likely table-toppers Nigeria.
Had it not been for Francois Kamano's 66th-minute penalty for Guinea, Madagascar would have taken all three points in Alexandria.
Nevertheless, they head into matchday two full of self-belief and know a victory could be massive in their quest for a shock spot in the knockout phase.
But Dupuis will not let Madagascar get overly confident.
"It would be a great risk if we underestimated the opponent," he told reporters.
"It's a difficult match and Burundi is a great and stubborn team. We have to be really focused and prepared.
"We know a win will move us closer to our next target. We've prepared for this and we are ready.
"They will come hard because they lost against Nigeria. We hope to win for the country."
#Burundi Dernière séance d'entrainement des #Hirondelles de ce mercredi avant midi au centre d'Eltihad en #Alexandrie avant d'affronter le #Madagascar dans un match décisif pour la suite de #AFCON2019 pic.twitter.com/uacPHfrBXs— F.F.B (@BurundiFF) June 26, 2019
Burundi also gave a solid account of themselves in their first outing, though they were a little less fortunate than Madagascar, going down 1-0 to the Super Eagles thanks to Odion Ighalo's winner 13 minutes from time.
Despite losing, Burundi showed themselves to be more than capable of troubling the more illustrious sides in the competition, matching Nigeria's record of 15 shots and getting six of them – three more than their opponents – on target.
But coach Olivier Niyungeko recognises that counts for little and his side are already running out of time.
"It will be a tough game because I have watched Madagascar and they are not a light team," Niyungeko said.
"It will be tough for us. We have already played one final against Nigeria and lost, but now we have to look at the remaining two finals, starting with Thursday.
"We know losing will be tough for us, so we have to ensure we get the three points."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Madagascar – Anicet Andrianantenaina
An impressive outing last time out means Andrianantenaina will be expected to produce again. He completed 88.7 per cent of his 62 passes against Guinea, touched the ball 74 times, won eight of 10 duels and got himself a goal. Another all-action display would go down a treat.
Burundi – Gael Bigirimana
Against Nigeria midfielder Bigirimana showed both sides of his game. He created three chances and saw more of the ball than any of his team-mates, but some of his passing was a little wasteful. Burundi instantly stand a better chance if he performs.
Key Opta Facts
- It will be the first game between Madagascar and Burundi in the Africa Cup of Nations.
- It will also be the first time that two teams playing in their first Africa Cup of Nations have faced each other since South Africa and Angola in January 1996.
- Burundi could become the 16th nation to lose their first two games in the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Charles Andriamahitsinoro was involved in Madagascar's two goals against Guinea.