Avram Grant not taking Ghana’s exit from African Cup of Nations for granted

Some Ghanaian fans might take it as an omen that the last time they beat Algeria at the Cup of Nations, in 1982, they won the trophy.

Ghana supporters in full flow during the game against Senegal. Carl de Souza / AFP
Powered by automated translation

Billed as the toughest group at this year’s African Cup of Nations, Group C could be done with a game to spare today.

Algeria and Senegal won their opening games and could qualify for the last eight if both record wins against Ghana and South Africa respectively.

Meanwhile, their opponents, who threw away leads in their opening games, can ill-afford a second defeat if they are to keep their dreams of the title alive.

The first game of a double-header in the eastern town of Mongomo pits Algeria against Avram Grant’s Ghana, who have been waiting to see if striker Asamoah Gyan will be able to return after he missed the 2-1 defeat to Senegal on Monday due to a bout of malaria.

Ghana led against Senegal courtesy of an Andre Ayew penalty but were pegged back in the second half before losing to a stoppage-time Moussa Sowgoal.

However, Grant said he remained upbeat as to his side’s prospects.

“The players showed good mentality and we hope it will be the same next game. But we knew that if we lost, nothing would be decided,” the former Chelsea manager said.

Some Ghanaian fans might take it as an omen that the last time they beat Algeria at the Cup of Nations, in 1982, they won the trophy.

Algeria, meanwhile, come into the match after a dramatic win in their opening game.

Christian Gourcuff’s side trailed 1-0 against South Africa, and only a missed penalty by Tokelo Rantie prevented them from falling further behind before they stormed back to win 3-1 with three goals in the final 15 minutes.

“Algeria had not won their opening game at the competition since 1990, so that augurs well for what is to come,” said Yacine Brahimi, one of the potential stars of these finals.

“[The next match] will be like a final. Ghana will undoubtedly react, while we need to build on our good start to close in on qualifying for the next phase.”

Senegal face a South Africa side looking to bounce back from their opening loss.

Last night, Tunisia came from behind to beat Zambia 2-1, thanks to a last-minute winner from Yassine Chikhaoui.