The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has so far been a fantastic one for the home team. The only reason that Equatorial Guinea was a part of this years’ tournament was because the original hosts of this years’ AFCON – Morocco backed out at the last minute citing the Ebola Epidemic as the reason. From not being even in the original 32 teams Equatorial Guinea now have registered their best performance in the AFCON’s till date.
Equatorial Guinea was initially disqualified from the tournament after they fielded an ineligible player during the qualifying stages and now are looking forward to a semi-final clash versus Ghana on the 5th of February, 2015.
They were the lowest ranked team at the start of the tournament and were not favored by the pundits or the bookies to qualify from their group. But the hosts proved them all wrong as they qualified from the group stages as runners-up finishing behind Congo and were also undefeated in the group stages.
Equatorial Guinea 1 -1 Congo
Equatorial Guinea 0-0 Burkina Faso
Equatorial Guinea 2- 0 Gabon
In the quarters they upset one of the pre-tournament favorites Tunisia coming back from one goal down to win 2-1 in extra-time. Even though Equatorial Guinea were the second best team throughout the match and were down played the last 20+ one goal down they came back through a injury penalty that was controversially awarded to them.
Javier Balboa has been the stand out performer for Equatorial Guinea so far and is also one of the top scorers of the tournament so far.
Equatorial Guinea’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in the quarters:
Ghanaians were one of the pre-tournament favorites to win the whole thing and so far they have lived up to the expectations.
Ghana were initially drawn into a tough group (Group of death as many would call it) consisting of Senegal, Algeria and South Africa and many were confident of Ghana’s passage to the quarter-finals but the Black Stars have proved their doubters wrong with their young team powering them through to the semi-finals.
In the groups they lost their first match vs Senegal but went on to win the 2nd and 3rd match vs Algeria and Ghana respectively. In the quarters they eased past minnows Guinea to win 3-0 with two goals from Christian Atsu and one from Kwesi Appiah.
Ghana’s 3-0 win over Guinea in Quarters: –
Ghana’s young brigade has arguably been the best team in the tournament so far. Apart from their minor bump at the start of the tournament (Lost to Senegal in the first match) they have impressed and improved each match. The likes of Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu and Asamoah Gyan have been in top form for the Black Stars and will be looking to carry their form into the semi-finals on Thursday.
Equatorial Guinea has been “Lucky” so far this tournament but you can’t reach the Semi’s of a tournament such as the AFCON riding on luck alone. They have played well and will hope to pull off one more upset and book their place in the finals.
Ghana should win this match but you can’t count out “Lucky” Equatorial Guinea.