Preview: Black Stars keeping AFCON dream alive ahead of semi-final match

5 years ago

Ghana are eager to reach their second Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final in five years but must first get past hosts Equatorial Guinea in the semi-final on Thursday.

Both teams will be meeting in the last four for the first time at the Estadio de Malabo on Thursday with kick off at 19:00 GMT.

The pre-match attention has been focused on Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan’s injury which could rule him out of Ghana’s fifth successive semi-finals match and their second match at the stadium.

Guinea Goalkeeper Naby Yattara lunged a violent attack on Gyan’s abdomen just minutes to the end of the game.

The striker is now likely to miss the next game against the host nation after undergoing a scan to determine if he could be declared available.

But after an impressive outing against Guinea in the quarter-finals stage which saw Ghana emerge as 3-0 winners, Coach Avram Grant is hoping that his team should be able to cope against the Equatorial Guineans if their skipper should miss out.

After the penalty awarded to the host team in their last game against Tunisia, many have called for fair officiating when the two sides line up to battle for a qualification to the final match.

And all eyes will be on Gabonese referee Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane and his assistants, Algerian Abdelhak Etchiali and Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos from Angola.

This will be Equatorial Guinea’s first appearance at the semi finals stage of the competition whiles Ghana have reached this stage 12 times, with four coming in the last four editions of the tournament.

Thursday’s match will the first ever competitive game between the two sides.