“We are Ghana. We will win our next match (against Comoros Islands) and go through” – those were the infamous words of Ghanaian star player, Andre Ayew following their 1-all draw to Gabon in the second group match. However, as history would have it, that proved to be a deadly sense of confidence and entitlement against the lowly-ranked islanders.
Following The Black Stars’ dramatic exit from the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday at the hands of the Comoros Islands, Egypt will need to be wary not to make the same mistake of undermining their opponents, Sudan.
This will be the sixth encounter between Egypt and Sudan at the Afcon. While the most accomplished team of the Pharaohs holds the upper hand with three wins to Sudan’s one (D1), their last two matches – a loss to Nigeria and a questionable 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau – didn’t inspire much confidence.
Egypt, who are sitting on three points, go into this looking for a point to secure an automatic qualification into the next round as runners-up to Nigeria. They cannot afford to lose as that would leave them in a position where they have wait to until Thursday’s matches to find out if they coud make the cut as one of the four best-placed thirds.
Nigeria on the other have nothing to play for going into this clash and will most likely use the encounter to give their fringe players and opportunity to get a run. Having collected six points from bothe Egypt and Sudan, they have already secured their position at the top of the table. Even if they were to lose and Egypt win their match, leaving both teams tied on six points, the Super Eagles of Nigeria would still remain at the apex of Group D on a better head-to-head result.
The unlikely turn of events…
Against all expectations, Group D’s unlikely event would be a situation where Nigeria fields a weakened side against Guinea-Bissau who have all to play for, resulting in a win for the Djurtus, finishing on four points and Egypt losing to Sudan, also finishing on four points. This would leave Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, who have already played to goalless draw, scrambling for a runners-up position on goal difference and one of them contending to go through as one of the four best thirds, and Egypt becoming the second big name after Ghana to pack their bags and fly out of Cameroon.
Nigeria 1 – 0 Egypt (WON)
Nigeria 3 – 1 Sudan (WON)
Egypt 0 – 1 Nigeria (LOSS)
Egypt 1 – 0 Guinea-Bissau (WIN)
Guinea-Bissau 0 – 0 Sudan (DRAW)
Guinea-Bissau 0 – 1 Egypt (LOSS)
Sudan 0 – 0 Guinea-Bissau (DRAW)
Sudan 1 – 3 Nigeria (LOSS)
Guinea Bissau v Nigeria
Egypt v Sudan
Guinea-Bissau versus Nigeria Match Facts:
This will be the first encounter between Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Guinea-Bissau remain winless in their eight matches in the Africa Cup of Nations (D3 L5); only Benin (14), Mozambique (12) and Namibia (9) have played more games in the tournament without ever picking up a win.
Nigeria have won 11 of their last 13 Africa Cup of Nations matches (L2), including both in this year’s tournament so far. They last won each of their opening three matches of an edition back in 2006.
Guinea-Bissau are yet to score in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations despite attempting 16 shots in their two matches so far. Overall, they have failed to score in their last six Africa Cup of Nations matches; no nation has ever gone seven straight games without a goal in the competition’s history.
Taiwo Awoniyi has attempted nine shots in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, more than twice as many as any other Nigeria player. He has also had more touches in the opposition’s box than any other Nigeria player in their opening two matches of this edition (14).
Egypt versus Sudan Match Facts:
This will be the sixth encounter between Egypt and Sudan at the Africa Cup of Nations. Egypt holds the upper hand with three wins to Sudan’s one (D1). Their first four meetings took place between 1957 and 1970 whilst their last head-to-head dates back to 2008, Egypt winning 3-0.
The first ever match in the Africa Cup of Nations was between Egypt and Sudan – it took place on 10th February 1957 in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The Pharaohs won 2-1.
Egypt are unbeaten in each of their last eight matchday three games of a group stage at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning six and drawing two since a 1-0 defeat to Morocco in 1998 edition.
Sudan have had fewer shots (15) and registered a lower expected goals total (1.25) of any side in Group D at this edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, while they’ve also faced a group-high expected goals total of 3.17.
Since the start of the 2017 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 64% of Egypt’s 11 goals in the competition, a higher share than any other Egyptian player (7 of 11 – 5 goals, 2 assists).
Below are 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 CAF Organising Committee – additional reporting by CAF Online