Ghana will be hoping to turn fortunes in their favour when they take on what seem to be the whipping boys of Group C, Comoros Islands, on Wednesday evening.
Following a 1-0 loss to Morocco and a 1-all draw against Gabon, the Black Stars of Ghana are finding themselves with the possibility of failing to qualify for the next round – an unusual situation for the four-time Africa Cup of Nations winners.
Going into this clash, Ghana cannot afford a draw or a loss.
A must-win for Ghana would have them on four points, invoking a head-to-head stat against Gabon, in the event the Gabonese lose to Morocco and the two team are tied on four points. However, with the two teams having played to a 1-all draw, the goal difference would them come into play, which could, in such a situation, earn them a runners’ up finish and automatic qualification to the next round.
Two situations would earn the current Group C No.: 2, Gabon an automatic qualification and those are a draw against Morocco or a draw or loss for Ghana, even if they could lose to Morocco.
There isn’t much to play for, for Morocco going into this clash. Sitting on six points, the Atlas Lions have already secured their position in the Round of 16 as group leaders or runners up in the worst-case scenario.
The unlikely situation
In the completely unlikely situation that the Comoros, just like Zimbabwe, choose to show up on the last match and win against Ghana, this will go down as one of the Black Stars’ worst showing at the Afcon failing to qualify for the next round after winning only one point out of a possible nine.
Morocco results – 6 points
Morocco 1 – 0 Ghana
Morocco 2 – 0 Comoros Islands
Gabon results – 4 points
Gabon 1 – 0 Comoros Islands
Gabon 1 – 1 Ghana
Ghana results – 1 point
Ghana 0 – 1 Morocco
Ghana 1 – 1 Gabon
Comoros Islands – no point
Comoros Islands 0 – 2 Morocco
Comoros Islands 0 – 1 Gabon
Gabon v Morocco
Ghana v Comoros Islands
Gabon versus Morocco Match Facts:
Gabon and Morocco’s only previous encounter in the Africa Cup of Nations took place in the group phase of the 2012 tournament – despite conceding the opening goal, Gabon won 3-2.
Gabon are unbeaten in their last five Africa Cup of Nations games (W1 D4), their joint-best such run in the competition (also five games between January 2012 and January 2015, W4 D1).
Morocco are unbeaten in their last six matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning five (D1), their longest run without defeat in the competition since their first 11 games in the competition between 1972 and 1978.
If they avoid defeat to Morocco, Gabon could go unbeaten in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations in consecutive appearances in the competition for the first time. (D3 in 2017 and W1 D1 so far in this edition).
Morocco are unbeaten in their final group stage game in six of their last seven Africa Cup of Nations appearances (W3 D3), with the exception being a 2-0 defeat to Ghana in 2008.
Ghana versus Comoros Match Facts:
This will be the first encounter between Ghana and the Comoros at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana have only won one of their last eight Africa Cup of Nations games (D4 L3), failing to score in half of those matches.
Comoros could become the fifth team to fail to score a single group stage goal in their debut Africa Cup of Nations tournament, after Burundi (2019), Gabon (1994), Sierra Leone (1994) and Mozambique (1986).
Ghana have just one point so far in this year’s edition (D1 L1) – they’ve never failed to win at least one group stage match in all their previous 22 appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Black stars last failed to progress from their AFCON group in 2006.
Nine of Ghana’s last 13 goals (70%) at the Africa Cup of Nations have been scored by brothers André (5) or Jordan (4) Ayew. After netting his 10th AFCON goal against Gabon, André Ayew is looking to score in consecutive matches in the competition for the first time.
Below is the qualifying criteria as per the rules of the tournament:
In case of equality between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:
- a) The greatest number of points obtained in the match between the two teams concerned;
- b) The goal difference in all group matches;
- c) The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
- d) A drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee
In case of equality between more than two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:
a) The greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned;
b) The best goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;
c) The greatest number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned;
d) If after applying criteria(a)to (c), two teams are still tied, (a) to (c) criteria are again applied to matches played between the two teams in question to determine the final ranking of the two teams. If this procedure does not allow separating them, the criteria listed from (e) to (g) are applied in the indicated order;
e)The goal difference in all group matches;
f)The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches;
g)A drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee
Criteria of defining the best 4 thirds in the groups
The four best teams among those ranked third will be determined as follows:
a) greater number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference resulting from all group matches;
c) greater number of goals scored in all group matches;
d) drawing of lots by CAFOrganisingCommittee – additional reporting by CAF Online