Guinea will be graving for greater luck when they take on Ghana in the first Group D quarter-final in Malabo before the Elephants of Ivory Coast coast against the Pre- tournament favourites Algeria in what could be classed as “rumble in Malabo”.
It could be recalled that the two teams played each other in the quarter finals of the 2010 edition in Angola when the Ivory Coast led 2-1 going into injury time only for Algeria to square up the score before winning 3-2 after extra time. Ivory Coast will have to maintain the classic defensive display against Cameroon if they are to ensure another win on their scorecard.
“There are not many teams in the world who are capable of attacking all the time. At international level Spain have been able to play that way and today maybe Germany too. But we are not Germany, we are Ivory Coast,” said Coach Herve Renard.
Algeria, the most lethal team in the group stage with five (5) goals , have enough depth in attack even without key striker Islam Slimani who has been struggling with a thigh problem. BBC player of the Year, Yacine Brahimi should be available despite coming off hurt against Senegal.
For the Elephants, Gervinho and Cheick Tiote would make up the squad again after suspension.
The Guineans gained a berth against Ghana after winning a drawing of lots on Thursday to emerge from Group D at the expense of Mali.
The Syli Nationale had a 1-1 score draw in all their group games and are hoping to progress beyond the quarter-finals for the first time since 1996.
“When we found out it was us, there was a great explosion of joy. But, of course, I had a thought for the Malians,” said Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer of the surreal manner in which his side went through.
“It is tough, because they also deserved to go through. They missed a penalty against us and then they go out on a drawing of lots. Luck was on our side. But if we have got to the quarter-finals it is because we deserved to somewhere.”
In the qualifiers, Ghana played Guinea in 1-1 draw and then a 3-1 victory. And Avram Grant’s Ghana then finished top of a tough group ahead of Algeria, Senegal and South Africa.
Defender Daniel Amartey is fit to play for the Black Stars after coming off early in the 2-1 win over South Africa on Tuesday.
Florentin Pogba (groin injury) has already left the Guinea squad while captain Kamil Zayatte has not yet featured at the finals due to a calf problem. Stand-in skipper Ibrahima Traore is declared fit to play after coming off against Mali.