AFCON matchday preview: Ghana getting desperate, Morocco and Senegal out to win groups

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Senegal
are
on
track
to
qualify
from
Group
B,
while
Morocco
have
so
far
handled
the
potentially
difficult
Group
C
rather
well

the
same
cannot
be
said
for
Ghana.

Luckily
for
the
Black
Stars,
they
have
arguably

on
paper
at
least

their
easiest
game
of
the
group
stage
to
look
forward
to
as
they
bid
to
avoid
falling
at
the
first
hurdle
for
only
the
second
time
this
century.

African
Cup
of
Nations
(AFCON)
2021:
Full
schedule,
timing
in
IST,
venues,
teams,
groups
and
telecast
details


Malawi
v
Senegal
(16:00
GMT)

Just
by
beating
Zimbabwe
2-1
thanks
to
a
brace
from
the
excellent
Gabadinho
Mhango,
Malawi
have
arguably
already
compounded
expectations
at
this
year’s
tournament.

That
was
only
their
second
ever
win
at
the
AFCON
and
it
ensured
they
go
into
Tuesday
with
a
real
chance
of
qualification,
either
automatically
or
as
one
of
the
four
best
third-placed
teams.

But
Senegal
still
have
a
lot
to
play
for
themselves,
with
Aliou
Cisse’s
men
tied
on
four
points
with
Guinea.

While
that
could
be
enough
to
take
them
through
anyway,
failing
to
top
this
group
will
not
be
a
good
look
for
the
team
many
considered
favourites
to
lift
the
trophy.


One
to
watch:
Gabadinho
Mhango
(Malawi)

While
Senegal
undoubtedly
possess
the
stronger
squad,
Orlando
Pirates
striker
Mhango
really
caught
the
eye
last
time
out
with
a
couple
of
well-taken
goals.
One
more
will
make
him
Malawi’s
all-time
top
scorer
in
the
AFCON.


Zimbabwe
v
Guinea
(16:00
GMT)

A
wonderful
opportunity
awaits
Guinea
here,
with
the
Syli
Nationale
knowing
they
will
win
the
group
as
long
as
they
better
Senegal’s
result.

Their
0-0
draw
with
the
Teranga
Lions
was
a
decent
outcome
and
means
they
are
one
of
just
three
teams
still
to
concede
a
goal

though
goalkeeper
Aly
Keita’s
tournament-best
record
of
2.4
goals
prevented
may
have
something
to
do
with
that.

They
face
a
Zimbabwe
side
with
only
pride
to
play
for
having
lost
each
of
their
first
two
games,
though
the
omens
are
not
great
for
Guinea:
the
Warriors’ only
previous
AFCON
wins
have
been
in
their
final
group
matches
(in
2004
and
2006).


One
to
watch:
Mohamed
Bayo
(Guinea)

Despite
their
chances
being
worth
2.98
in
terms
of
expected
goals
(xG),
Guinea
have
only
netted
once.
That
1.98
non-penalty
xG
underperformance
is
the
second-worst
at
the
tournament.
Bayo
arrived
in
Cameroon
in
good
form

they
will
hope
he
can
inspire
an
improvement
where
it
matters
most.


Gabon
v
Morocco
(19:00
GMT)

As
one
of
only
three
teams
to
win
both
of
their
first
two
games
this
year,
Morocco
are
already
assured
of
a
place
in
the
next
round

they
just
need
to
seal
top
spot
now.

The
Atlas
Lions
are
already
on
their
longest
unbeaten
run
at
the
AFCON
(six
matches)
since
going
11
without
defeat
in
the
1970s,
and
they
also
boast
the
best
xG
(5.3)
and
xGA
(0.5)
records
of
the
teams
to
play
twice,
evidence
of
how
effective
they
have
been
at
both
ends
of
the
pitch.

But
Gabon,
who
confirmed
Pierre-Emerick
Aubameyang
and
Mario
Lemina
have
returned
to
their
clubs
for
medical
reasons,
are
aiming
to
go
unbeaten
in
a
second
success
group
stage
campaign
for
the
first
time,
with
a
point
likely
good
enough
to
send
them
through.


One
to
watch:
Youssef
En-Nesyri
(Morocco)

It
has
been
a
frustrating
season
so
far
for
Sevilla
striker
En-Nesyri,
who
has
missed
prolonged
periods
through
injury
and
then
saw
his
penalty
saved
against
Comoros.

His
25-minute
cameo
then
was
his
first
appearance
in
the
tournament.
With
qualification
already
assured,
they
might
opt
to
build
up
his
fitness
for
the
knockouts
with
a
start
against
Gabon.


Ghana
v
Comoros
(19:00
GMT)

Ghana
were
held
to
a
1-1
draw
by
Gabon
last
time
out,
a
match
that
was
marred
by
ugly
scenes
at
full-time
after
a
late
equaliser
denied
them
victory.
It
culminated
in
a
red
card
for
Benjamin
Tetteh
after
he
punched
an
opponent
in
the
face.

Having
also
lost
to
Morocco
on
matchday
one,
Ghana
now
need
a
win
to
have
any
hope
of
progressing

even
then,
it
may
not
be
enough.

If
Ghana
do
not
win,
it
will
be
the
first
time
they
have
ever
failed
to
win
a
single
group
game
in
22
appearances
at
the
tournament.

It
would
also
be
their
first
failure
to
get
out
of
the
group
since
2006.
Much
is
at
stake.


One
to
watch:
Andre
Ayew
(Ghana)

While
Ghana
have
some
very
talented
young
players
in
their
squad,
their
qualification
hopes
are
looking
a
little
desperate

they
need
their
experienced
stars
to
take
the
lead
here.

Andre
Ayew
and
his
brother
Jordan
are
obviously
the
focus
here,
given
that
nine
(70
per
cent)
of
Ghana’s
previous
13
AFCON
goals
have
been
scored
by
the
siblings
(Andre
is
on
five,
Jordan
on
four).

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