The last of AFCON 2019’s Last 16 clashes takes place at 8pm BST, where Ghana will meet Tunisia in the Ismailia Stadium. Ghana were rather fortunate to top their group having gotten only five points and finishing joint leaders beside Cameroon, while also being the lowest points-scorers of any table topper compared to the other groups. Tunisia came behind Mali in Group E, although they were also lucky to have had lesser-quality opposition as they could only amass three points in their three outings, drawing every match.
Ghana began their AFCON campaign in less than pleasing fashion, playing out a stalemate against Benin. Their opponents took the lead after only two minutes, however Andre Ayew saved his teams blushes under ten minutes later. His brother, Jordan, netted the second and put his team in the driving seat but that was before John Boye received a red card in the second half which put Ghana in trouble. Mickael Pote got Benin right back into the affair with a strike in the sixty-third minute, and that was enough to see them share one point apiece. Upon the encounter with Cameroon, there was plenty of expectation as to how many goals would be scored. All that talk was soon put to a stop though as it became clear the two wouldn’t break the deadlock, and in the end they had to make do with yet another point. Those results put Ghana in the awkward position of needing a win versus Guinea-Bissau on the final day, and that’s exactly what they achieved. Thanks to Jordan Ayew’s nerve settler in the second half, Thomas Partey could ensure three points twenty minutes from time, assisted by Abdul Rahman Baba.
Tunisia started with a tie against Angola, in which Youssef Msakni hit home from the spot after thirty-four minutes. That lead lasted until late in the second half when Djalma prevented three points going the way of their opponents by leveling the scores. Another 1-1 draw succeeded that result as Mali stopped any hopes of Tunisia getting their first win by keeping the scoreline on level terms, after taking the lead through Samassekou. Khazri, the former Sunderland striker, bagged ten minutes later, but it wasn’t to be yet again for Tunisia. They may have felt that they needed a victory on the final day of group games, however it turned out that a scoreless draw with Mauritania was all that was necessary to see them advance to the Last 16 of Africa’s largest tournament. Now, they find themselves with a brilliant opportunity to make history for their country.
Christian Atsu could miss out due to a hamstring problem he picked up during the competition, although Ghana have replacements ready if that’s to be the case. It appears that they’ll begin in a 4-4-1-1, just as they did when facing Guinea-Bissau, with Richard Ofori in net. Abdul Rahman Baba, John Boye, Joseph Aidoo and Andy Yiadom make up the back four, while Wakaso Mubarak and Partey sit in the centre of a four man midfield. Up front, the two Ayew brothers will create chances for one another and hope to get amongst the goals.
There are no injury concerns for Tunisia as they continue their preparations for this mighty task. We can see them using the 4-2-3-1 that was utilized versus Mali, another formidable opponent, as they came away from the outing without defeat. Mouez Hassen should remain as goalkeeper, and Dylan Bronn will sit beside Yassine Meriah at the heart of defence. Ellyes Shkiri will play alongside Ghilane Chaalali in midfield, while Anice Badri, Khazri and Naim Sliti should be the trio in attacking midfield. As a lone striker, we expect Taha Yassine to start.
With five draws between one another, it wouldn’t come as a shock if the pair were inseparable at full time. For this reason, we’re going for a draw after ninety minutes with Skybet at 17/10. As well as that, the pair haven’t been particularly consistent in terms of goal-scoring up to now, Ghana only scoring on four occasions and Tunisia just twice. A 1-1 draw is our prediction, and you can find odds of 5/1 with Skybet for that outcome. As a low-scoring match is expected, we can envision this one going all the way to penalties. From there, it’s always difficult to tell who’ll take the glory, however we believe that Ghana will have enough experience and know-how in their ranks to find a win. Skybet have Ghana to win on penalties at 17/2.