Africa Cup of Nations: What to look out for on day 10 in Egypt


Mohamed Salah’s goal against DR Congo was his 40th in 65 internationals
2019 Africa Cup of Nations
Host nation: Egypt Dates: 21 June – 19 July 2019
Coverage: Text commentary and selected match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Saturday saw the first 0-0 draw of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations – then a second and a third in rapid succession.

Mauritania and Angola played out the first of the day’s stalemates, before holders Cameroon had to settle for a point against Ghana.

In the late game Benin and Guinea-Bissau, the other two teams in Cameroon’s group, were also goalless.

Day 10 promises drama, however, with plenty to play for at the top and bottom of Groups A and B, while Mohamed Salah has something to prove after angering some Egypt fans.

Who’s playing?

Egypt and Nigeria are among the tournament favourites with 100% records and no goals conceded, but they will miss out on top spot in their groups if they lose their final game.

Meanwhile, with four of the six third-placed teams going through to the last 16 even DR Congo and Burundi, who both lost their first two games, can still qualify.

So, first up it’s Group B, with debutants Burundi aiming for their first Afcon win against Guinea in Cairo while surprise package Madagascar will win the group if they can upset Nigeria in Alexandria (both 17:00 BST).

Then Uganda will top Group A if they beat hosts Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium while Zimbabwe play DR Congo across town at the 30 June Stadium (both 20:00 BST).

Players to watch

Burundi v Guinea

Ibrahima Traore has played in Germany since leaving French side Levallois for Hertha Berlin in 2006
Ibrahima Traore
National team: Guinea Position: Winger Club: Borussia Monchengladbach Age: 31

Ibrahima Traore is one of the longest-serving players in the Guinea squad and remains captain after leading them to the quarter-finals when they last qualified in 2015.

He refused to panic after Guinea lost all three warm-up games, saying it would be a “good lesson”. And although they would be disappointed to draw 2-2 with debutants Madagascar in their opening game, in which Traore earned a penalty, they only lost 1-0 to more fancied Nigeria.

Now they face another debutant, Burundi, and Traore will see it as a good opportunity to open his account in Egypt and lead Guinea to their first win of the tournament, booking a place in the last 16.

Madagascar v Nigeria

Faneva Andriatsima has been playing in France since leaving his homeland to join Nantes in 2007
Faneva Andriatsima
National team: Madagascar Position: Forward Club: Clermont Age: 35

At the age of 35, captain Faneva Andriatsima has led Madagascar to their first Afcon and they have been the surprise package in Egypt, earning a 2-2 draw with Guinea before beating fellow debutants Burundi 1-0.

With top spot at stake, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said the game will be like “a final in the group” and he will make several changes “to have competition in each position”.

Andriatsima will therefore aim to take advantage of any rustiness in the Nigeria defence and extend his record as Madagascar’s all-time leading scorer, which he claimed with his 13th international goal in a warm-up game against Luxembourg.

Uganda v Egypt

Mohamed Salah
National team: Egypt Position: Forward Club: Liverpool Age: 27

Egypt’s talisman has come in for some rare criticism after supporting team-mate Amr Warda, whose suspension was reduced by the Egyptian Football Association to the end of the group stage.

Despite having previously been vocal in standing up for women’s rights, Salah tweeted: “We need to believe in second chances”, leading his critics to point out that Warda has already had a second chance having also been accused of sexual harassment in 2017.

Although Salah scored in Egypt’s 2-0 win over DR Congo last time out, he seems to be suffering the effects of a long season and team-mate Trezeguet has arguably been the hosts’ best player so far.

Some fans have reportedly turned their back on the team after Salah’s response to off-field issues so the pressure will be on the Liverpool forward to get back to doing what he does on the field.

Zimbabwe v DR Congo

Knowledge Musona has played for the likes of Hoffenheim and Oostende since leaving Kaizer Chiefs for Europe in 2011
Knowledge Musona
National team: Zimbabwe Position: Forward Club: Anderlecht Age: 29

Zimbabwe have never got beyond the group stage and if they are to claim their first Afcon win since 2006 they could do with their captain Knowledge Musona having his shooting boots on.

They only lost 1-0 to hosts Egypt in their opener and Musona, nicknamed ‘the Smiling Assassin’, missed an open goal in the 1-1 draw with Uganda, hitting the crossbar from just four yards out.

The Anderlecht forward, who went on loan to Lokeren this season, has been linked with a permanent return to Kaizer Chiefs but said the move was unlikely so he has the chance to put himself in the shop window in Egypt or convince new Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany to take a look at him on his return to Belgium.

What are the big stories of the day?

The build-up to Nigeria’s last game against Guinea was overshadowed by a pay row which led to former Leicester striker Ahmed Musa refusing to attend a news conference and the squad arriving late for training on Tuesday.

But the threat of another dispute has been averted after the Nigeria Football Federation paid the players outstanding bonuses and allowances on Friday’s deadline.

Vice-captain Musa, who now plays for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, believes the players will not be distracted against Madagascar, saying: “Once we all realised that the issue will be resolved whenever the NFF is ready, we kept the focus on football and let them handle talks off the pitch.”



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Source link : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/48812007

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Publish date : 2019-06-29 22:19:58

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