Our football scribe previews the second semi-final of AFCON 2017 contested between Cameroon and Ghana.
African powerhouses Cameroon and Ghana will clash in the second semi-final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. The Indomitable is in short supply of established players but to their credit, they have remained organised and consistent throughout the tournament.
Ghana have played some exciting and entertaining football up until this point. The Black Stars are blessed with quality players in all departments and are favourites to progress to the all-important final. Will Ghana prove their worth as favourites? Or can Cameroon grind out another victory?
Africa Cup of Nations Semi-Final | Thursday 2 February | Stade de Franceville | 21:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Cameroon 22/10 | Draw 18/10 | Ghana 15/10
Cameroon qualified for the knockout round with the merit of a second-place finish in group A, behind Burkina Faso on goal difference. They kick-started the tournament with a 1-1 draw against the Stallions, before edging Guinea-Bissau 2-1 and finally playing to a goalless draw with fallen hosts Gabon.
The Indomitable Lions kept free-scoring Senegal at bay in the quarter-finals, as the teams played to a goalless draw before Cameroon claimed a 5-4 win on penalties. Should they remain as solid as they were against the Teranga Lions, Cameroon will definitely be in with a chance against Ghana.
Cameroon have hustled and bustled their way into the semi-finals, grinding out the necessary results needed to stay in the Nations Cup. They are looking much like the Portugal side that shed blood, sweat and tears on their way to claiming the Euro 2016 championship.
Ghana qualified from group D with a second-place finish behind Egypt with six points from three matches. The Black Stars earned two hard-fought 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana before being on the wrong end of that scoreline against eventual group winners Egypt.
Ghana may have fallen to a 1-0 defeat to Egypt in their final group game but they did well to bounce back in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over DR Congo. All three goals were scored in the second stanza with both the Ayew brothers finding the back of the net.
With the relentless movement, pace and agility of the Ayew brothers, plus the vision, creativity and silky passing from Cristian Atsu, Cameroon could be in for a long night, especially if they stick to their game plan and rely on their backline to get them over the finish line yet again.
Verdict: Ghana Win (15/10)
The Indomitable Lions have looked weak in the final third and will have to show much more conviction and aggressiveness going forward as an attacking unit if they are to survive an onslaught from a quality side such as Ghana.
I expect the Black Stars to create plenty of chances to eventually wear down a stubborn Cameroon defence. Back Ghana at 15/10 to claim the victory on the 90 minute market.
Written by Aaron Crowie