Ghana vs Egypt: preview, head-to-head and predictions

Estimated read time 6 min read

Ghana vs Egypt is the biggest match that Ghanaians have been waiting for with bated breaths since the AFCON 2023 draw made months ago. The Black Stars and Pharaohs both multiple-time champions of Africa are placed in Group B with less fancied sides; Cape Verde and Mozambique. However, things are taking a twisted turn following the opening round of matches. Egypt is well experienced in Africa with AFCON 2023 being the Pharaohs’ 26th appearance while Ghana is making its 24th appearance. But their less fancied opponents in Cape Verde (4th) and Mozambique (5th) appearances are the ones riding high.

While Ghana suffered a haunting narrow defeat in the hands of Cape Verde on Sunday night, Egypt secured a nail-biting 2-2 stalemate against Mozambique courtesy of a late penalty by Liverpool talisman Mohammed Salah. Egypt has some cushion in the one point to look back to while fighting. A draw could be a valuable result for them heading into the final match against group leaders Cape Verde.

Ghana on the other hand is in distress and must be going out for the kill from the go with the hope of claiming all three points. Anything other than a win would mount more pressure on the four-time champions and further widen the distance between the team and the supporters. So what does history say about Ghana vs Egypt?

Head-to-head: Ghana vs Egypt

These two countries have a great history of playing against each other. The two sides have met on 23 occasions since July 1960 when they met in an international friendly and played out a 2-2 draw. Their next encounter also ended in a draw in Sudan in AFCON 1970. Since then, they met on three occasions in the tournament with Egypt winning twice and Ghana winning once. The last time they met in AFCON was in 2017 when Ghana lost 1-0 in a Group D final round match at the Stade de Port-Gentil, Port-Gentil, Gabon. Mohammed Salah scored the only goal.

Ghana playing against Egypt in the AFCON final in 2010 in Angola
ANGOLA, LUANDA – JANUARY 31: Egyptian players celebrate winning the Africa Cup of Nations final match between Ghana and Egypt from Universitaria Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Luanda, Angola. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Ima

Ghana’s last victory against Egypt in AFCON was in 1992 when the team moved all the way to the finals only to lose to Ivory Coast. The match ended 1-0 in favour of the Black Stars. Anthony Yeboah scored the solitary goal that condemned Egypt to early elimination from Group D behind Ghana and Zambia in Senegal.

The teams have met frequently in World Cup qualifications in recent years. First in 2013 when they first met in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. Ghana won the first leg 6-1 in Kumasi before losing the second leg in Egypt 1-2. They then met again in 2016 with Egypt winning 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 in Ghana.

In Ghana’s last defeat of Egypt, only Andre Ayew from the present squad started that match for Ghana while Jordan Ayew was an unused substitute. Mohammed Salah and Mohammed Elneny started for Egypt while Ahmed El Shenawy came on from the bench. Meanwhile, only Richard Ofori and Daniel Amartey are among the cast that started in the last match between these two sides while Lawrence Ati-Zigi was an unused substitute on that day. For the Egyptian side, Ali Gabr, Trézéguet and Mohammed El Neny started while Ahmed El Shenaway, Koka and Kahraba started from the bench.

So in 23 Ghana vs Egypt encounters, Egypt is leading Ghana with 12 wins while six matches ended in draws. It must be noted Ghana’s last victory came in 2013, 11 years ago and between that and the last match which was a draw, Egypt secured three consecutive victories.

Players to watch out

Ghana vs Egypt is often a huge match as these are two traditional heavyweights in African football despite their bad fortunes in recent times. Egypt’s dominance ended in 2010 when they beat Ghana for the last of their three consecutive triumphs. However, the Pharaohs made it to the finals only to lose on penalties to Senegal in Cameroon. Mohammed Salah has been their star man always but there are other faces to watch out for in the Egyptian team.

Mostafa Mohammed showed why he should be feared after he magically shot the Pharaohs in the lead against Mozambique in just two minutes. We cannot deny the Salah factor in the goal as the talismanic Egyptian forward made the final touch though not an intended pass that resulted in Mostafa picking it up to score. Mostafa has scored six goals in 15 appearances for Nantes in the French Ligue 1.

Ghana arguably does not have any standout player that Egypt should be worried about in the absence of the much acclaimed Mohammed Kudus who is likely to miss the match or start from the bench. Regardless, Ghana has a number of speedy wingers in Joseph Paintsil and Ernest Nuamah who could cause a lot of problems for Mohammed Hamdy and Mohammed Hanny. Antoine Semenyo workaholic running at the defense could be deadly for the Pharaohs unless they find a way to manage him.

Inaki Williams started the previous match from the bench but could be called into the starting XI to use his height and experience against a highly experienced Egyptian side. Aside from him, Jordan Ayew was very threatening from his set pieces in the last match and one of them resulted in the goal and Ghana could seek to exploit that.

Predictions

Ghana vs Egypt is really going to be a close call and a hard one at that. Egypt goes into the match as favourites and would also be motivated by their miraculous draw after a near-embarrassing defeat against Mozambique. Ghana will also be desperate to turn their fortunes around with reports that supporters attacked the coach following the defeat.

The game will be won based on efficiency and Ghana’s survival would much more depend on their ability to remain organized and have maximum concentration through as well as the technical team making the right changes. They lost the last match due to poor changes and concentration lapses.

However, we would go with a narrow win for the Black Stars 1-0. The goal is expected to come after the 70th minute of the game.

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