Zambia vs Ghana – Semi-Final
Zambia takes on Ghana in the first semi-final at the Africa Cup of Nations on Feb. 8 at the Estadio de Bata. Both teams have played well to get this far in a tournament that has seen several upsets so far. Ghana came into the 2012 event as one of the favourites though and other than a few mental lapses here and there have lived up to the high expectations.
Ghana beat Botswana 1-0 in their Group D opener and then shutout Mali in their next game. They struggled a bit against Guinea after that and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. However, their seven points was still enough to go undefeated and win the group. Ghana then took on Tunisia in an exciting quarterfinal match and managed to hang onto a 2-1 victory to make it to the semi-finals. However, they had to go to extra time against Tunisia to do it and now are hoping to win the Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the fifth time.
Things won’t be easy though as Zambia are quite a disciplined team and have been a mild surprise so far at the 28th version of the tournament. They’ve put forth an excellent effort in all of their games so far and have beaten Equatorial Guinea, one of the co-hosts along with a heavily-favoured Senegal side in the group stages. Manager Herve Renard has done a credible job with his players to reach this stage.
Both teams should have a full squad to choose from since there aren’t any injuries or suspensions to report on. This means we should see each team start their best 11 and go for it. Renard knows a little bit about the Ghana side since he was an assistant coach with the team in the 2008 Cup. They finished third that year and his knowledge of the enemy might help out a bit.
Ghana is hard to score against though and have only allowed two goals against in their four matches so far. It will also be the nation’s third straight semi-final appearance. Manager Goran Stevanovic is hoping his players can come up with an excellent effort to reach the final against either Mali or Ivory Coast.
Ghana will be depending on Asamoah Gyan to lead their attack and if he plays up to his potential could be the difference in this game. It might end up going to extra time or even penalty kicks, but look for Ghana to win this match and advance to the final in this year’s edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sportsbook William Hill has the current odds of a Zambia win at 3/1 with a Ghana victory at 21/20 and a 90-minute draw at 21/10.