Benin and Guinea-Bissau will clash at the Ismailia Stadium on Saturday, with neither team able to begin their AFCON campaign with a win. Benin are placed in second spot after one fixture, drawing with Ghana in the opener as the scoreline read 1-1 at the end of the ninety minutes in what was a much deserved point. Guinea-Bissau however, suffered defeat at the hands of Cameroon and are now in the unwanted position of needing three points from this one if they are to keep up with the rest of the pack.
Benin know exactly what defeat tastes like as they have been on the wrong end of the scoreboard three times in the past five outings, losing to Aleria and Gambia on their way to the tournament finals. After that loss against Gambia, Benin then faced off with Togo, who they beat by two goals to one through strikes from David Djigla and Steve Mounie. Their AFCON opener went better than expected in reality as their opponents were looking to obliterate them, but when Mickael Pote bagged the first goal within three minutes it was clear that Benin were not simply here to just take part. Andre Ayew leveled things up before the ten minute mark and his relative Jordan Aye notched his first of the tournament prior to half time, meaning Benin went into the break down by one. Soon though, it was Ghana who were down by one, one man that is. John Boye was sent off for a second bookable offense and that undoubtedly had an effect on the equaliser taking place four minutes later through Pote again. That’s how things finished, and now Benin can throw themselves right into contention for qualification to the next round with a win.
Guinea-Bissau came into this year’s AFCON having failed to win either of their last two competitive games, both of which were in the qualifiers for the tournament. A deadlock with Namibia in which neither side could find their goal-scoring touch was succeeded by another stalemate, this time against Mozambique, where they were forced to rescue a point in the final minute. Then arrived the main event: Cameroon vs Guinea-Bissau on the biggest stage of all in African football. Unfortunately, from a Guinea-Bissau perspective, things didn’t go as planned in the end. The first half was 0-0, but Yaya Banana put the opponents in front twenty-four minutes before the ninety minute mark and only three minutes after that, Stephane Bahoken doubled their lead. This leaves Guinea-Bissau in the unenviable position of need to pick up points from their next two fixtures if they hold any chances of making it through.
Benin lined up in an extremely defensive 5-4-1 versys Ghana in an attempt to shut out the opposing, skillful attackers amongst the Ghanain ranks. They may opt for a similar formation in this one as it worked to their advantage in the previous matchup, however if they aim to earn maximum points Benin will probably need to be more adventurous. Fabian Farnolle will remain as goalkeeper, while Khaled Adenon and Olivier Verdon are likely to sit in defence. In front of them will probably be a four man midfield of Pote, Jordan Adeoti, Stephane Sessegnon and Cebio Soukou, with Huddersfield Town forward Steve Mounie up top.
Guinea-Bissau have no injury worries ahead of this crucial tie, and they are expected to have a full squad to choose from. We think they’ll go for a 4-3-3 formation again despite the fact it resulted in defeat last time out, as the opposition they are about to come up against are not quite of the calibre of Cameroon. Rudinilson Silva will play alongside Juary Soares in defense, with Zezinho and Sori Mane accompanying Pele in midfield. In attack, Piqueti, Frederic Mendy and Toni Silva will play as a three.
These two don’t have the most exciting of attacks in African football and because of that, we can’t see too many goals being scored by either team on Saturday. Skybet have under 1.5 goals at 13/8, which isn’t bad at all. Benin will definitely be the more confident of the pair though after their point earned in the first match against Ghana, so a victory for them looks the most likely outcome right now, and Skybet have Benin to win to nil at 2/1. This bet goes nicely with our next tip: Benin to win by exactly one goal at 5/2 with Skybet. Benin have scored under two goals in three of their last five outings, earning points in three of those matches, while Guinea-Bissau are winless in five of their last six.