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AFCON: Ghana could be the value as last four prepare for battle

| 03.02.2015

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations may have started off as a draw/snore-fest (delete as applicable), with 13 of the 24 group games ending in a stalemate, but the quarter-finals certainly brought about plenty of excitement, quality and controversy in equal measure.

With our initial 16 nations whittled down to just four plucky contenders, vying to get their hands on the trophy, how does each of the quartet stack up?

DR Congo – 15/2

With half-an-hour left to play in the ‘Battle of the Congos’ Florent Ibenge’s men looked down and out.

That was before a spirited display saw the Democratic Republic fight back, and then some, eventually progressing with a 4-2 victory.

That win was their first taste of success in this competition, having been one of two sides to get through the group stages without picking up a point.

Encouraging as that victory was, with the tournament favourites up next, the last four looks likely to be as far as they go.

Ivory Coast – 21/20

Despite being the shortest priced nation to claim glory this winter, the Ivory Coast have flattered to deceive, doing enough, without looking unbeatable.

They were second best on all areas of the pitch, except the one that mattered, as they overcame Algeria in a 3-1 win that suggests they were more convincing than they were.

Boss Herve Renard has already been quoted saying that in defeating the North Africans, his men had now beaten the best team in the competition.

They possess plenty of quality and are worthy favourites, but the reliance on Wilfried Bony to create the majority of chances up front could find them out.

Ghana – 7/4

Pitched in the supposed ‘Group of Death’, the Black Stars should take plenty of encouragement out of the fact that they are the only team left in the competition that won two of their matches in the first stage.

Avram Grant’s men made light work of Guinea in the quarter-finals, progressing in a 3-0 victory that barely saw them out of first gear.

With five different goalscorers contributing their seven goals so far in the tournament, they look to have a good spread of quality, and might be the value bet against the underperforming favourites.

Equatorial Guinea – 15/2

It took a very debateable penalty for the hosts to force extra-time and go on to win their quarter-final tie against Tunisia, Estoril striker Javier Balboa tucking both goals away.

Prior to that they had gone through the group stage conceding just a solitary goal, albeit in a comparatively weak group.

Before being awarded the penalty in stoppage time in the last eight, they looked outclassed and will really be tested against Ghana in the semis.

Unless home advantage sees the officials swayed in their favour, it is hard to see them getting to a first AFCON final, let alone winning it.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.