AFCON 2015 Quarter Final: Ghana vs Guinea Match Preview

AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS

  • Venue: Estadio de Malabo
  • Date: Sunday, 1/2/15
  • Kick-off: 16:00 GM

TEAM NEWS

Ghana defender Daniel Amartey has declared himself fit to feature.

The 20-year-old Copenhagen player had been forced off early in the 2-1 defeat of South Africa on Tuesday.

Guinea will be without defender Florentin Pogba who has a thigh injury and has returned to his French club St Etienne, while captain Kamil Zayatte is still struggling with a calf problem.

Stand-in skipper Ibrahima Traore is expected to play despite the forward coming off against Mali.

MATCH PREVIEW

Injuries aside, Guinea will be hoping that fortune is with them as they take on Ghana in a game that was moved to the Estadio de Malabobecause of concerns about the surface in Mongomo.

Guinea survived in the competition only after winning a drawing of lots on Thursday to emerge from Group D at the expense of Mali.

They drew 1-1 in all three group games and are now setting their sights on going beyond the quarter-finals for the first time since the tournament was expanded to 16 teams in 1996.

“When we found out it was us, there was a great explosion of joy. But, of course, I had a thought for the Malians,” said Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer of the surreal manner in which his side went through.

“It is tough, because they also deserved to go through. They missed a penalty against us and then they go out on a drawing of lots. Luck was on our side. But if we have got to the quarter-finals it is because we deserved to somewhere.”

The sides met in qualifying, with the Black Stars having the edge thanks to a 1-1 draw and then a 3-1 victory.

And Avram Grant’s Ghana then finished top of a tough group ahead of Algeria, Senegal and South Africa.

“I can say there is a lot of talent here, very, very good players, quality in the highest level,” said Grant.

“The quality of the players is good, the quality of the games is good also. There have been many, many good games, which in a tournament you cannot take for granted.

Ghana are aiming to continue their record of having reached at least the semi-finals at each of the last four tournaments, and Grant says his team must be ready for every eventuality.

That means being prepared to overcome their penalty hoodoo after being knocked out in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals by Uruguay and the 2013 Nations Cup semi-finals by Burkina Faso in shoot-outs.

“We need to prepare ourselves for everything. I don’t want to look in the past. I have some experience of penalties,” Grant said with a nod to Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United on penalties in the 2008 Champions League final when he was in charge of the London club.

“We need to think about all possibilities, but I suggest not to take the past as a fact. There are things in the past that were not so good, so we try to improve them.”

MATCH FACTS

  • This is the fifth Afcon tournament in a row that Ghana have made the knockout stage – they’ve always finished in the top four in the previous four tournaments
  • Guinea were awarded a quarter-final spot at the expense of Mali through the drawing of lots. The last time this happened at an Afcon in 1988, when Algeria progressed ahead of Ivory Coast
  • Guinea have never beaten Ghana at this tournament (D2 L3), but this will be their first meeting in the latter stages of a competition
  • Ghana have scored in each of their five Afcon matches against the National Elephants, but never more than twice
  • Andre Ayew was involved in the most goals in the group stage (3, scoring two and assisting another)
  • The Marseille man scored with both of his shots on target in the group stage
  • Guinea have only made it further than the quarter-finals once in four attempts, when they finished runners-up in 1976
  • No side faced fewer shots on target in the group stage than the Black Stars (6)

Source: BBC

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