GROUP A comes to a close in the African Cup of Nations with all four sides still in with a great chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) explores the best bets for Gabon’s meeting with Equatorial Guinea.
Gabon v Equatorial Guinea | Sunday 18.00 | ITV4
With all four Group A teams still in with a serious chance of grabbing a knockout place, Sunday’s final fixtures should throw up plenty of excitement. I’m going to be backing Gabon to ensure their place in the last eight with a win and I’m happy to take Ladbrokes’ 23/20.
The Panthers qualified without losing a game and started their campaign by seeing off 2013 finalists Burkino Faso 2-0. Jorge Costa’s team were under the cosh for large periods in that fixture but their game plan worked a treat.
However, their performance levels dropped against Congo. Having dominated the ball, they missed a few sitters to end up on the losing side. Even with just a draw required to book their quarter-final berth, I’ve faith in Gabon getting the job done.
Hosts Equatorial Guinea know they must win to continue their Nations Cup journey and it’s that need that could and should play straight into the Stallions arms. Gabon are an electric counter-attacking side that will offer serious threats from electric front-three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frederic Bulot and Malick Evouna. I don’t expect them to be quite so forgiving this time around.
Equatorial Guinea have drawn both games already and were fairly fortunate to escape with a point in both. Esteban Becker’s side have lost six of their last 11 and have looked a little too fragile defensively to be taken too seriously.
Their 0-0 draw with Burkino Faso was only their second clean sheet since 2012 and they conceded enough shorts and chances to lose that match on most other meetings.
Emilio Nsue, Iban Edu and Javier Balboa have looked lively in the attacking stakes but they’ve failed to create enough opportunities. With a toothless forward line and a defensive prone to lapses of concentration and errors, it’s hard to see them getting a positive result.
The last 10 showdowns between the two nations have seen Gabon W6-D3-L1 and I’m happy to invest my faith in a seventh victory on Sunday night, especially when odds-against quotes are on offer.
Gabon v Equatorial Guinea – Gabon to win (23/20 Ladbrokes)