Hello readers, and who would of thought we could be on Day 8 already?
The tournament is flying by and is starting to shape up nicely. If you didn’t watch the games yesterday, first off where were you? And, second, what could be more important than AFCON? No excuses about having a life, as you missed two classic matches so more fool you.
In the first game we had the Ivory Coast playing DR Congo. What a game this was! DR Congo went 1-0 up with Neeskens Kebano of Fulham scoring a great goal on the half volley. Ivory Coast drew level, Max Gradel of Bournemouth curling in a corner for Wilfried Bony to head in and score. Bony scoring. Remember when he used to do that every week? Congo immediately replied with a second and took their lead into half time. Finally The Elephants got what they deserved as Serey Die hit a shot from 20 yards that took a deflection and flew in. The match finished 2-2 and it was one of the better matches of the tournament so far. Although Ivory Coast are favourites to win the trophy, they need to be starting games better. Their poor start must be down to being made tournament favourites by myself. I’m like the grim reaper, ready to strike, coming to a match near you, no AFCON team is safe. As for my guilty pleasure and everyone’s favourite fruit juice, all I can say is wow they actually have a great chance to qualify.
Next came Morocco against Togo, and what a start for Togo as they scored inside the first five minutes with a goal from Mathieu Dossevi. For a whole ten minutes I sat in silence wondering what just happened and praying this score didn’t continue. Finally Morocco equalized through Aziz Bouhaddouz, quickly followed by Romain Saiss putting them in the lead. You can only imagine my delight when up popped Youssef En-Nesyri to send Morocco 3-1 up and safe from a Togo come back. Oh Emmanuel where has it all gone wrong? Togo could still qualify if they beat DR Congo, so it’s still all to play for in Group C.
For those with short memories let me cast your minds back to yesterday’s prediction of this match. Oh yes readers, I’ve only gone and done it again. Another rabbit pulled out of the hat and a correct score of 3-1. It’s amazing what a magic 8 ball can tell you. If only I was putting money on this, I would have halved my losses so far.
Today’s game feature the second games from Group D. Ghana will be hoping to beat Mali to qualify for the next round. They will be quietly confident after beating Uganda in their first match. Mali will be difficult to beat as they proved when they played Egypt. I’ve got to be honest and say I’m not expecting much from this match. Mali will go all Jose Mourinho on us and park the bus leaving a frustrated Avram Grant on the side lines wishing he was less stressed.
In match two we see Egypt take on Uganda. Egypt will be hoping for a win and, maybe, some goals. After watching Ghana play Mali I’d imagine we could all do with some goals to entertain us. But fear not readers, as it’s time for The Pharaohs to shine and I expect ex Chelsea player, now of Roma, Mohammed Salah to get on the score sheet.
In AFCON news today Avram Grant gave his biggest hint he would leave Ghana at the end of the tournament. Also, the fact his contract runs out at the end of AFCON may have something to do with it. The rumours are nothing to do with Avram bringing out a book titled, “Stressed? The Top 10 places to visit to Unwind.” Yes, I am going to run with this gag until Ghana are knocked out.
A little mention to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who clearly was thrilled to see Sadio Mane get Senegal through to the knockout games. In the words of Jurgen “I wrote to him and said I’m happy for you, but on the other hand, I could really kick your … lower back” nothing like being honest Jurgen. How many of you read that in a German accent? Just me then.
In news just in, Joel Matip has been given the all clear to play for Liverpool after his “Retired? Oh no he didn’t!” pantomime. FIFA deciding common sense should prevail, well that’s a first.
So it’s my time to shine as I predict the scores for today’s games. Ghana v Mali, what a potential of a game, what a match up, open game full of excitement? Hell no, this game has 0-0 written all over it. But fear not, get through this and you will be treated to an Egyptian wonder class. I’m expecting the Uganda defence to open up like the Nile and The Pharaohs to win 3-0 with Salah grabbing a goal. Goals, goals, goals readers!
Yesterday you were posed the question of “Who has scored the fastest ever goal in AFCON?” With your knowledge improving daily this must of been a breeze for you guys. Yeah, you guessed it! The fastest goal goes to Ayman Mansour of Egypt scoring in 23 seconds, about the time it took for Swansea to realise Bob Bradley was a mistake. Yet it still took them 85 days to do something about it!
We’ve had the obligatory “oldest player in this tournament” question already, so today is “Who is the youngest player to play in AFCON?” You know what to do, tweet @TalesFromTTF and any correct answers gets your name in lights – well more to the point, mentioned on this piece.
With the final group games coming up next we are clearly at the business end of AFCON. I, for one, cannot wait to see how the groups end up. If we have learnt anything from AFCON so far it’s this; The defending may be like a car crash at times but like any accident on the motorway you just can’t help but look. Rubber neck the AFCON, rubber neck the AFCON.