Black Stars To Knock Out Underdogs
Ghana v Guinea
Ghana take on one of the surprise packages of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday as Guinea take their place in the quarter-finals thanks to the luck of the draw.
Successive victories over Algeria and Senegal saw Ghana reach the last eight, although it was far from plain sailing for the Black Stars. After losing their opening game of the tournament 2-1 to Senegal to a last minute goal from Moussa Sow they then inflicted the same fate on Algeria when Asamoah Gyan struck in injury time to earn a 1-0 win. After falling behind in their final group game against South Africa, the Ghanians scored twice in the last 17 minutes to seal their place in the knockout phase as they earned a fourth win in six games.
Marseille attacker Andre Ayew has scored twice in the tournament to date including the crucial late winner against South Africa to put his side into the knockout phase.
Following the bizarre scenario of drawing lots after finishing with identical results to group rivals Mali, three proved a magic number for Guinea with a return of three goals scored, three conceded and three points to show from their trio of games to this point.
Both sides were unhappy with the decision to resolve their fate in the tournament in that way, the first time such a scenario has taken place at senior international level since Ireland and the Netherlands were separated in the same fashion at the World Cup in Italy 25 years ago – although both of those teams still reached the last 16 in that situation. They’ve now lost only one of their past seven games though – a 5-2 pasting at the hands of Senegal in a warm-up game prior to the start of this tournament.
Kevin Constant, Ibrahima Traore and Mohammed Yattara have each scored a goal apiece in their their draws with Mali, Cameroon and group winners Ivory Coast.
With neither side reporting any major injury and no suspensions to serve both bosses have a full squad to select from. Ghana manager Avram Grant could replace Daniel Amartey with John Boye who scored off the bench against South Africa, while his counterpart – Michel Dussuyer – will make a call on whether to start Naby Keita or Seydouba Souma.
History will have to be made in this fixture if the underdogs are to prevail as in 11 meetings, Guinea have never got the better of Ghana, who won at home and drew away in their clashes back in October which eventually saw both qualify for these finals.
Former Sunderland striker Gyan found the back of the net in each of those games and has now scored three times in his past four appearances against these opponents.
Despite being separated by only two places in the world rankings, Ghana are the clear favourites going into the game at 20/21, and with plenty of justification given their recent and historical record against these opponents, while Guinea are out at 10/3.
A fourth 1-1 draw on the trot for Dussuyer’s side is priced at 5/1 although the pick of the bets for me is a Ghana win in a game with Under 3.5 goals at 18/5 scored while a 2-1 victory for the Black Stars looks a good value bet at 8/1.