Matchday three of Group F in this year’s AFCON will see Benin and Cameroon face off against one another, with both sides in hope of making it to the next stage of the tournament. As things stand going in to the game, Cameroon sit atop the leaderboard with four points, two more than Benin and Ghana who occupy second and third position respectively. Interestingly, even Guinea-Bissau in fourth can qualify should results go their way, so these two need to be on their toes with everything on the line.
Benin are on a high right now having not suffered defeat in four of their last five outings, losing only to Gambia in the AFCON qualifiers by three goals to one. Their final qualifier saw them beat Togo 2-1, allowing the nation to progress to these championships in second spot. The opening clash with Ghana began exactly how Benin would have wanted, with Mickael Pote netting after just two minutes. However, Andre Ayew soon leveled the score and ensured that this was going to be a very difficult match to call. Jordan Ayew grabbed Ghana’s second shortly before the break, but when John Boye was sent off in the second half Benin were evidently buoyed. Just eight minutes later, Pote doubled his tally for the day and because of his goal, Benin and Ghana shared the points. The matchup versus Guinea-Bissau was certainly not short of chances, but neither team could find the net in what was a dull affair overall. That result now leaves Benin in with a decent opportunity to make it out of the group.
Undefeated since November when Brazil came out on top in a friendly, Cameroon’s belief will be relatively high going into this encounter. Against Guinea-Bissau in their first game of the AFCON, Yaya Banana got the opening goal which settled nerves in the squad, as their opponents held out until the second half of the tie. That strike arrived in the sixty-sixth minute, and only three minutes had passed before Stephane Bahoken made it 2-0 and sealed victory for Cameroon, placing them top of the table in Group F. As was the same in the fixture involving Guinea-Bissau and Benin, neither team could break the deadlock when Ghana met Cameroon at the Ismailia Stadium. Ghana had more chances to score but managed just one shot on target, hitting eleven wide of the mark, whereas Cameroon struck wide on four occasions and worked the goalkeeper twice. Cameroon won’t be complaining with that scoreline though as they are not in the fantastic position of needing just one point to qualify for the next round.
Benin will have everyone available for selection when they take to the field on Tuesday, which is obviously a big bonus for the manager and morale within the camp as they look to qualify for the last 16. We expect Benin to line up similarly to how they did against Ghana in a 5-4-1, rather than the 4-1-4-1 utilized versus Guinea-Bissau. With the latter, Benin struggled to create many scoring chances and although they kept a clean sheet, they’ll need goals here. When they took on Ghana they looked far more comfortable and were at it right from the off, so we can see a return to that formation with Steve Mounie playing as a lone striker in front of a four man midfield of Cebio Soukou, Jordan Adeoti, Jodel Dossou and Pote.
Cameroon boss Clarence Seedorf expects more from his players after receiving criticism for their disappointing display against Ghana last time out. He has defended himself by saying he always tries to win, and a win could be just what his team needs to get back on their feet. The 3-4-3 that was used against Ghana is likely to have been rubbished by the manager, instead returning to the 4-3-3 that worked to good effect in the win over Guinea-Bissau. Yaya Banana will remain in defence, while Andre Anguissa, Georges Mandjeck and Arnaud Sutchuin will probably start as a three man midfield. In attack, it’s looking like Christian Bassogog and Eric Choupo-Moting will sit either side of Karl Toko Ekambi.
Despite the two point gap, the pair have scored the same amount of goals thus far – two goals. Due to their lack of attacking threat, it’s tough to see anything other than a low-scoring Cameroon victory. Benin surprised Ghana with a couple of goals though, and for this reason we are going for Cameroon to win and BTTS at 9/2 with Skybet. Don’t write Benin off completely, as they do have some good quality in their ranks. You can find Both Score No Draw at 3/1 with Skybet, which is a better tip if you think Benin could just pull off a massive shock in this one. A 1-2 result is the most likely outcome with Benin in need of a win and Cameroon looking to get back amongst the goals again, with Skybet offering 9/1 for the game to end with that scoreline in favour of Cameroon.