AFCON Group A: Congo can qualify with draw against Burkina Faso
Coral writers preview the final round of Group A at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, that features Burkina Faso against Congo and tournament hosts Equatorial Guinea versus Gabon.
All four countries can still qualify, with surprise packages Congo currently top on four points and last AFCON finalists Burkina Faso bottom on one.
Burkina Faso v Congo
Pre-tournament no-hopers Congo currently top the group with one match to go, and are in a fantastic position to qualify to the quarter-finals for the first time in 23 years.
All the Red Devils (9/4 chances for victory) have to do is draw against bottom of the pool dwellers Burkina Faso (5/4 favourites), who have yet to score from their opening two games.
Their head-to-head record is exactly even too, so back a share of the spoils here at 11/5, but Congo coach Claude Le Roy said ahead of the encounter: “I am a coach that hates draws. I will never prepare my team to go for a draw. We are going to play for a win against Burkina Faso.”
Whilst on his side’s success so far, he added: “It’s unbelievable. We were in the same [qualifying] group as [defending champions] Nigeria. We created a huge surprise in Calabar [beating them 3-2]. But with this team, anything is possible. They like to work, they like to sing together.”
Congo have the likes of former West Bromwich Albion forward Thievy Bifouma, who got a goal against the hosts in the first match, to look to. Meanwhile, the Stallions will hope that Traore brothers Bertrand and Alain, as well as Jonathan Pitroipa, can click.
Equatorial Guinea v Gabon
Equatorial Guinea reached the quarters in their only other AFCON finals, which they also hosted, but most likely need a win (13/5) against Gabon (11/10 favourites) to reach that stage once more.
A draw (at 11/5), meanwhile, could allow Burkina Faso to leapfrog them both, but Gabon should have just enough firepower to see them through.
The Panthers have Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who helped down the Stallions in their group opener, and he can be relied on once more.
Equatorial Guinea will be hoping Middlesborough’s Emilio Nsue can net again for them, after getting on the scoresheet against Congo.