Africa Cup of Nations – Egypt v Ghana Preview (25/1/17)

Egypt preview

The equation is simple for the Pharoah’s, avoid defeat and they’ll qualify for the knockout phase. If they lose, then Mali would potentially overtake them. Egypt would of course win the group if they beat Ghana but there’s speculation that nobody wants this to happen. Egypt have desperately suffered on the Port-Gentil pitch which is the worst in the tournament. It really hinders technical sides and the Pharaoh's know they’d struggle in a quarter final here. A draw is the perfect result for Egypt but at the same time would they dare risk trying to ‘avoid’ winning the contest? Left back Mohamed Abdel Shafy is rated doubtful for the contest and it must be remembered that goalkeeper Essam El Hadary is their only remaining fit goalkeeper at this tournament. The legendary 44 year old is closing in 150 caps for his country.

Ghana preview

The Black stars are safely through to the quarter finals, the only question remains if they win the group of finish second. As aforementioned with Egypt, there has been some speculation that Ghana would prefer to finish second and thus avoid having to play at Port Gentil in the next round. In many ways, coach Avram Grant has the luxury of rotating the team as much as he wants. If they lose the game, so what, it might actually benefit them! Ghana haven’t impressed me too much but they have to be given some respect for grinding out a couple of 1-0 wins. On both occasions, they scored fairly early in the first half and managed to hold on. It’s been noticeable how much the Black Stars have struggled in the last 20 mins as they’ve got deeper and deeper. That isn't much of an issue here though with no pressure on their shoulders.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is a game nobody wants to win, Ghana might want to lose it but Egypt want a draw exactly! Work this one out! This is such a tough match to bet on and the bookies are expecting a draw, with odds close to the evens mark. In all truth, there’s a very good chance of that occurring and 0-0 has to be a major contender. The pitch here at Port Gentil is awful and seriously limits goals. But it seems to be getting even worse with all sorts of weird bounces so it’s possible something weird might happen like a strange backpass resulting in a goal. I simply can’t be betting on this game with any big stakes. For those who like small punts then no goalscorer might be worth a nibble, but I’d say the best option is probably to avoid getting involved here.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None