Hosts Leading by Example at AFCON

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Hosts Cameroon are through to the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations but several of the other fancied teams have yet to impress.

vincent aboubakar

Hosts Cameroon became the first team to book their place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations after making it two wins from two in Group A on Thursday, but some of the other big hitters in the competition are yet to find their stride.

The Indomitable Lions have, incredibly, not lost an official competitive home match since 1973, but they had to twice come from behind to claim their victories over Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, with striker Vincent Aboubakar particularly catching the eye, grabbing a brace in both fixtures.

Cameroon can be backed at 5/1 to go on and be crowned champions of Africa for a sixth time and they only need a point from their final group fixture with Cape Verde to guarantee top spot – while star man Aboubakar is 1/3 to end the tournament as the leading scorer.

Big Names Struggling to Find their Groove

Cameroon have scored six goals at this year’s AFCON and they are so far the only side to have found the back of the net more than once in a match.

Some of the other tournament favourites have yet to find their feet at the finals, with Senegal needing a 97th-minute penalty from Sadio Mane to salvage a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in Group B, while reigning champions Algeria were held to a goalless draw by Sierra Leone in Group E.

Mohamed Salah’s Egypt also disappointed, losing their Group D clash with Nigeria 1-0, while the likes of Morocco and Ivory Coast were able to scramble narrow victories, but were far from at their best.

Given this year’s AFCON has been extended to 24 teams, meaning only eight will be eliminated from the group stage, there is still plenty of time for the pre-tournament favourites to find their groove, so don’t be discounting Senegal (4/1), Algeria (5/1) and the likes just yet.

Senegal and Morocco in Action on Friday

Friday’s action will see the second round of group matches contested in Groups B and C, with Senegal aiming to take a giant step towards the knockout stages by beating Guinea in the day’s early kick-off.

Liverpool star Mane was Senegal’s saviour in their opening group fixture and he is now just two behind Henri Camara’s all-time scoring record of 29 for the Lions of Teranga.

There will be two matches getting underway at 4pm, including the Group B clash between Malawi and Zimbabwe where both sides will be looking to register their first points and goals of the competition.

Morocco will also be in action at that time in Group C, with the Atlas Lions priced at 2/9 to overcome Comoros and make it two wins from two in the competition.

Gabon and Ghana Set for Crunch Clash

Arguably the game of the day will be the 7pm kick-off in Group C between Gabon and Ghana.

Gabon were able to edge past Comoros 1-0 in their opening match and they could be boosted by the return of out-of-favour Arsenal frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was unavailable last time out due to Covid.

Ghana are chasing their first AFCON title in 40 years, but defeat to Morocco in their group opener has put the pressure on Milovan Rajevac and his side, with the Black Stars relying on Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan to be their main source for goals.

Anything but a victory in Yaounde will leave Ghana’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages firmly in the balance. They can be backed at 10/11 to claim the win, while Gabon are available at 19/5, with the draw, which would also suit the Panthers, priced at 41/20.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A fountain of knowledge on football, Tom offers a particular in-depth expertise in EFL and European leagues.
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