By Nairaland Forum Two-time Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-finalists Gabon opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over tournament debutants Comoros, despite having much less possession than their opponents. They might not be able to get away with that against stronger teams, and as they’ve only won one of their last nine H2Hs against Ghana (D3, L5) this should be a sterner test.
However, with just four wins since the start of 2021 (D2, L5), the ‘Panthers’ are not in great form and their win over Comoros was their first AFCON success since January 2015 (D3, L2). With the tournament low on goals so far, another tight affair wouldn’t surprise as each of Gabon’s last nine AFCON matches featured under 2.5 goals.
Ghana’s 1-0 defeat in their opener to Morocco saw them lose consecutive internationals (90-minute outcomes) for the first time since 2017, and they must bounce back here to put themselves in knockout qualification contention. To achieve that, they’ll need to stop a worrying trend of being stung by late goals – in three of their last four internationals they conceded after the 70th minute (W1, D1, L2).
Surprisingly for a side that’s reached the AFCON final nine times, the ‘Black Stars’ have struggled recently on foreign soil which could prove ominous. In fact, their only win across their last eight matches outside of Ghana came against lowly Zimbabwe (D2, L5). Although with Gabon ranked 89th in the world (Ghana #52), this could be a better outcome.
Players to watch: After netting the winner against Comoros, the last four of Aaron Boupendza’s strikes for Gabon were first-half match openers – three before the 30th minute. For Ghana, André Ayew has scored six goals across his last eight games for club and country, the last four arriving within the first 40 minutes.
Hot stat: Ghana have collected an average of just 1.1 yellow cards per game across their last ten matches. Read More
Source:: Nigerian Chatter