AFCON 2023: Unlucky Black Stars of Ghana face Mambas of Mozambique for tight fight for knockout stage

Posted : 22 January 2024

The Black Stars of Ghana will meet the Mambas of Mozambique for the second time in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, following their encounter in the group stage of the 1996 edition, which Ghana won with a 2-0 victory. For many, this seems like a long time ago.


The Mambas of Mozambique have never defeated Ghana, losing four out of their six meetings in all competitions and drawing twice.


Mozambique has failed to score in 10 out of their 14 Africa Cup of Nations matches, managing only six goals in those 14 games. Among teams that have played as many games as they have in AFCON, this is noteworthy.


The Black Stars of Ghana are currently experiencing their longest winless run at the Africa Cup of Nations, spanning six games with two draws and three losses. In fact, they have won only once in their last 11 matches in the competition, with five draws and five losses, securing a 2-0 victory against Guinea-Bissau in the 2019 group stage.


The Mambas of Mozambique have consistently lost their final group stage games in all four previous AFCON tournaments, losing to Egypt (1986), Ghana (1996), Zambia (1998), and Nigeria (2010).


Additionally, the Black Stars of Ghana have conceded twice in each of their two group stage games at AFCON 2023. They have never conceded two or more goals in their first three matches of a single edition.


Mozambique remains winless at the Africa Cup of Nations, sharing the record for the most games played without a win at AFCON with Benin.


The Mambas are one game away from equaling the record for the most games played without a clean sheet, unless they record a shutout against Ghana. Zimbabwe currently holds that unwanted record of 15 games.


Despite only playing in one of their two Africa Cup of Nations games this year, Geny Catamo has had six more touches in the opposition box than any other Mozambique player.


Mohammed Kudus has had the most shots (4), most shots on target (2), and the best pass accuracy among teammates who completed at least 20 passes.


The Africa Cup of Nations Group B promises a thrilling finale on Monday, with three teams still vying to qualify for the knockout stages. Two of them face off as Mozambique and Ghana engage in a winner-takes-all encounter.


With one point each after two matches, Ghana and Mozambique both need a victory to have any real chance of qualifying for the last 16.


Ghana's performance against Egypt last time may not have been outstanding, with the Black Stars arguably fortunate to earn a point despite leading twice. However, the draw increases their chances of advancing to the knockouts, as a total of four points is likely to secure at least one of the best third-place spots.


Considering Mohammed Kudus' emphatic start on Match Day 2 with a couple of goals, coach Chris Hughton will be confident that his team has the necessary quality to defeat a Mozambique side also fighting for survival.


Kudus has had the most shots (4), most shots on target (2), the best pass accuracy among teammates who completed at least 20 passes (91.3%), and completed three times as many dribbles (6) as any teammate so far in the tournament.


Mozambique's confidence was high after a commendable draw with Egypt on Match Day 1. However, Cape Verde brought them back to reality with a 3-0 victory on Friday. Defensive errors contributed to Cape Verde's goals, including a mistake by goalkeeper Ernan for the first goal and a defensive error by centre-back Edmilson Dove for the second.


Anything other than a win will likely see Mozambique heading home, as they currently sit behind Ghana at the bottom of the table on goal difference, which would be the tiebreaker if head-to-head records with the Black Stars are level.


Mozambique could finish third with a draw if Egypt is defeated by Cape Verde, but this scenario seems unlikely. The possibility of Mozambique being one of the best third-placed teams with just two points is also improbable.


A Mozambique win would be historic, as they remain winless at the Africa Cup of Nations (P14 D3 L11), sharing the record for the most games played without a victory at AFCON with Benin.


Mozambique vs Ghana Head-to-Head:
Mozambique and Ghana faced each other in the group stage of the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, with Ghana emerging 2-0 victors. That is their only past meeting at AFCON.


They have met six times in all official competitions, with Ghana winning four and losing none.

 

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