The West African domination is clear to see, and a battle between Guinea versus Gambia will narrow down the list from the region. With the so called ‘giants’ of the African continent falling one by one, these nations will want to capitalize on the opportunity to go all the way.
Will it be a solid Guinea, or will the newcomers continue to make their voices heard?
Guinea 15/10 | Draw 31/20 | Gambia 43/20
Guinea got off to a flying start in AFCON claiming a 1-0 victory over Southern African side Malawi. Then, coming up against tournament, let alone group favourites Senegal, they showed great determination to hold the 2019 finalists to a goalless draw. The Syli National finally closed off proceedings in an upset 2-1 defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe. The Guineans qualified second in Group B on head-to-head with Malawi to get the more favourable draw, and now they will feel confident when facing Gambia.
Guinea’s record in the knockout stages is not one to rave about, but they have done well to consistently escape the group stages in five of their last six appearances.
Naby Keita is without question the go to man in the middle of Guinea’s team, and he has proved his worth unlike many other ‘big name’ players in AFCON. Despite losing, he found the back of the net in their fixture with Zimbabwe last time out and will be eager to lead the team through the next round.
One of two nations making their debuts in AFCON, Gambia has been extremely impressive. Cruising through their group, Gambia finished second only by goal difference. Yet to ever lose a game at the finals, the Gambians will be eager to continue their great run of form against Guinea.
A 1-0 victory over Mauritania kicked off the tournament for The Scorpions, and just like any team striving for success a little bit of luck in their favour when they drew 1-1 when Musa Barrow netted in the 90th-minute against Mali. Their last showing however was a thing of brilliance. Yes, they didn’t dominate, but they showed composure and cohesion to overcome Tunisia in a stoppage time winner from substitute Ablie Jallow.
There are so many household name players in tournament, but Gambia are doing wonders without any of the sorts.
Prediction: Draw (31/20)
A poor showing in the knockout stages for Guinea versus a Gambian side writing history as they go. Guinea scraped their way through the group stages while Gambia thrived. Could the newbies have peaked too early and Guinea are yet to show their true plans? I feel the full 90 minutes will end in a stalemate here.