MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) continues his 2017 African Cup of Nations analysis by previewing Sunday's quarter-final clash between DR Congo and Ghana.
DR Congo v Ghana | Sunday 16:00 | Eurosport
- DR Congo have now W8-D1-L0 in their last 9 competitive games and only lost 1/14 meaningful matches.
- DR Congo topped Group C, beating Morocco and Togo but twice letting a lead slip against Ivory Coast, drawing 2-2.
- DR Congo did ride their luck a little when winning ugly v Morocco and have attempted only 27 shots so far but 17 of those came from inside the penalty area.
- DR Congo’s counter-attacking style has hurt helped contribute to a solid 2.78 expected goals per-game rate during their group fixtures.
- DR Congo forward Junior Kabananga is the competition’s top scorer having netted in all three group games.
- DR Congo are hoping to have Chancel Mbemba, Jordan Ikoko and Gabriel Zakuani fit but all three will face late fitness tests. Jacques Maghoma is definitely out.
- Ghana have only W2/8 games of late – against Uganda and Mali – both 1-0 in Group D.
- Ghana have managed just 4 goals in those 8 games – 1 of their 2 goals in Group D came from the penalty spot.
- Ghana have performed poorly in the final third and averaged only 3 shots on-target per-game.
- Ghana’s preparations have been hit by travel delays and the Black Stars only arrived in Oyem on Friday.
- Ghana should have captain Asamoah Gyan available despite an injury scare.
Don’t expect Ghana to venture too far away from their mind-numbing game-plan here. The Black Stars will look to control possession and tempo whilst keeping the backdoor firmly shut.
DR Congo will happily cede the initiative to Ghana and attempt to pick-off their opponents on the counter-attack, a formula that’s worked well for Florent Ibenge’s men in recent years.
I’ve been keen to oppose Ghana from the outset and I can’t be investing any faith in Avram Grant’s troops at such short quotes despite their pedigree of reaching the business end of AFCON competitions.
With that in mind, supporting DR Congo with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap is advised. This selection will see us make money should the Leopards avoid defeat in 90 minutes.
DR Congo v Ghana – DR Congo +0.25 Asian Handicap (28/29 188BET)