Group D of the 2017 African Cup of Nations gets under way on Tuesday with four-time champions Ghana taking on unfancied Uganda while seven-time winners Egypt face Mali. Here are our top tips for the Stade de Port-Gentil double-header.
Ghana to beat Uganda @ 87/100
The Black Stars have a proud record in this tournament and, despite not lifting the trophy since 1982, have reached the semi-finals in the last four renewals, only losing out to Ivory Coast on penalties in the decider two years ago. The road to Gabon has not exactly been smooth for Ghana but Avram Grant will have his side fired up for a fast start against opponents who last made it this far in 1978.
Ghana to beat Uganda to nil @ 33/20
Uganda exceeded expectations by making it to the finals as one of the best runners-up, winning four and drawing one of their six matches. However, they only netted six times in those fixtures and failed to get on the scoresheet in either clash with table toppers Burkina Faso. Goalkeeper Dennis Onyango is the Cranes’ key player but he may not be able to keep a useful Ghana attack at bay.
More goals in second half of Ghana game @ 23/20
Ghana began their qualifying campaign with a 7-1 rout of Mauritius that produced six first-half goals but after that they tended to be more cagey early on and look to wear down opponents in the second period. The Black Stars beat Rwanda 1-0 with an 87th-minute strike, Mozambique 3-1 after leading just 1-0 at the break and Mauritius 2-0 in a match which was deadlocked for 70 minutes.
Egypt and Mali to draw @ 21/10
Egypt have recovered from missing the last three African Cup of Nations tournaments and will arrive in Gabon in good spirits, However, the Pharaohs don’t quite have the talent that claimed a hat-trick of titles between 2006 and 2010 while Mali invariably perform above expectations in this event, reaching the semis in 2012 and 2013. A close encounter is on the cards.
Egypt and Mali to draw 1-1 @ 5/1
Mali failed to make it past the group stage two years ago but they again performed with great credit, drawing all three matches 1-1 against Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea. Back in 2013, it was the same scoreline when they played Congo DR at this stage and when facing South Africa in the quarter-finals before they progressed on penalties. No reason not to follow the trend!