The Syli Nationals of Guinea and the Scorpions of Gambia will have a lot to play for when both teams meet in the second match of the Group B hostilities.
While both teams do not share much history, as the Scorpions of Gambia are just making their second appearance in the AFCON, with the first meeting occurring in the knockout stages of the 2021 AFCON, resulting in a 1-0 win by the Scorpions of Gambia, thanks to Musa Barrow's goal, a game that also produced two red cards.
The Syli Nationals of Guinea are fired up after securing a valuable point against Ghana in the first match, which ended 1-1. Meanwhile, the Scorpions of Gambia enter the match hoping to recover from a 3-0 defeat against the defending champions, the Teranga Lions of Senegal.
The match at the Stade de Yamoussoukro stadium will go into the record books as more of a stage fight between both sides.
With Gambia making their Africa Cup of Nations debut in 2022, Guinea is the first opponent they’ll face more than once in the competition.
Following their 1-1 draw with Cameroon, Guinea could go unbeaten in their opening two games in consecutive Africa Cup of Nations, with one win and one draw.
After going unbeaten in their first four games at the Africa Cup of Nations with three wins and one draw, Gambia has lost their last two matches without scoring.
For the Syli Nationals of Guinea, they are winless in four AFCON games, having two draws and two losses, while they have only won two of their 14 in the competition.
Gambia has conceded five goals in their last two AFCON matches, after only conceding once across their first four games in the competition.
Guinea’s last 10 AFCON games have seen them alternate between scoring seven goals.
Gambia playmaker Musa Barrow has been directly involved in all the goals his country scored at the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring two and assisting two.
For the Scorpions of Gambia, they must approach the fixture in a challenging state, having suffered three consecutive defeats against Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burundi.
Struggling to find a win in their last four games, their primary concern lies in shoring up their defense, having conceded goals in seven consecutive away matches.
In contrast, Guinea, with a more balanced record, has won 8 of their last 20 matches, lost 8, and drawn 4.
Guinea's last games include victories against Nigeria, Uganda, and Guinea Bissau, a loss to Botswana, and draws against Cameroon and Gabon.
The Syli Nationals of Guinea had just six shots in their first match of AFCON 2023 against Cameroon; only once on record (since 2010) have they had fewer in a single game in the competition – five against Senegal in January 2022.
Following Mohamed Bayo’s goal for Guinea against Cameroon in Match Day 1, six of their last seven goals at the Africa Cup of Nations have been scored by players who play their club football in France, and since 2006, Guinea have scored the most goals (20) by such players in the competition.
It should, however, be a match the Syli Nationals of Guinea should consolidate on to stand a good chance at the knockout stages.