The final group gets under way in the Africa Cup of Nations tonight with three of the more fancied teams playing each other. Ghana get their campaign underway against Uganda while Mali face a tough match with Egypt in Port-Gentil. In a tournament which has thrown up a couple of shock results already who are the best football tips for today?
Ghana v Uganda tips and analysis
Ghana haven’t had one of the best preparation periods for this tournament. They’ve not played any warm-up friendlies and their last match was in their World Cup qualifying group in November. They lost that one 2-0 to Egypt, making it five games without a win for Ghana – including a draw with today’s opponents Uganda in that spell.
Theoretically, they should be much better. Their squad has the likes of Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew leading the line – and then you’ve got players behind them of the quality of Baba Rahman, Daniel Amartey and Christian Atsu. The problem Ghana have is that those players aren’t gelling together – and without any warmups they come into this game without any chance to build their team up.
For Uganda, this is their first appearance at the ACN since 1978. They have played two warm-up games, beating Slovakia 3-1 before losing to the Ivory Coast 3-0 on Wednesday. They’ve got a great prospect in Standard Liege midfielder Farouk Miya, with the 21-year-old having scored 15 times in his first 38 appearances for the Cranes.
It’s difficult to back Uganda for this one. Ghana should really have beaten when they drew last time and the motivation should be there for Ghana to do better. However, this tournament has already shown that the smaller teams such as Guinea-Bissau and Zimbabwe aren’t going to lie down and get smashed and this game may be similar.
ProTipster prediction: X2 in the double chance market it at 1.93
Mali v Egypt Tips and Analysis
Mali have played one warm-up game in the prelude to this Africa Cup of Nations, beating Burkina Faso 2-1 on Saturday, making it three wins in their last six internationals. They did well in qualification, winning their group and dropping only two points from a possible 18.
The quality in their squad isn’t quite there though. There is a lot of up-and-coming youth in the team in Monaco’s Adama Traore, Rostov’s Moussa Doumbia and Lille’s Yves Bissouma but none of those are over 22 years old. 28-year-old Bakary Sako is one of the most experienced players in the Malian forward line and he has struggled to stake a place at Premier League Crystal Palace this season.
The Egyptian national team is a different story, with players throughout the lineup of proven quality. Mohamed Elneny has started to cement himself into the Arsenal lineup while teenager Ramadan Sobhi has looked promising at Stoke City. Roma’s Mohamed Salah will lead the line with the 24-year-old already having scored eight goals in Serie A this season.
Egypt have come into the tournament on the back of three wins on the trot including a last minute winner against Tunisia in their sole warm-up friendly. The Pharoahs have only lost once in their last ten games and as such present Mali with a big test.
ProTipster prediction: Egypt to win at 2.13
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