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Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying | Group Stage
Sep 7, 2023 at 5pm UK
Baba Yara Stadium

2 - 1

Kudus (43'), Nuamah (88')
Djiku (47')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Mafouta (25')
Pirioua (24'), Yangao (29')

Preview: Ghana vs. Central African Republic - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Ghana vs. Central African Republic - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying clash between Ghana and Central African Republic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Group E leaders Ghana go head to head with third-placed Central African Republic in the final round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations group-stage games on Thursday.

With both sides separated by just two points, a place in Ivory Coast is very much up for grabs and this makes for a thrilling affair at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

Match preview

Ghana were involved in a share of the spoils for the second consecutive game as they played out a goalless draw with Madagascar at the Kianja Barea Mahamasina on June 18.

Despite seeing over 60% of the ball possession and being in the ascendancy for most of the game, Chris Hughton's men were guilty of a lack of sting in attack as they failed to threaten the Barea before settling for a draw.

While Ghana have enjoyed an unbeaten campaign in the qualifiers, they have played out three draws in their last four Group E matches, including a 1-1 draw with Central African Republic in June 2022.

With nine points from five qualifying matches, the Black Stars currently sit at the summit of Group E, one point above second-placed Angola and two above Thursday's visitors.

After two games on the road, Ghana now return to home soil, where they are on a run of seven consecutive victories, stretching back to a goalless draw with West African rivals Nigeria back in March 2022.

Having featured in nine consecutive AFCON editions since 2006, the West African powerhouse now need at least a draw on Thursday to secure a 10th straight appearance at the continental showpiece.

Central African Republic, on the other hand, have enjoyed a respectable qualifying campaign and are now one win away from a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations appearance.

After falling to a 2-1 loss against Angola in the Group E opener in June 2022, Raoul Savoy's men upped the ante in their subsequent three matches, picking up seven points from a possible nine.

This run saw Central African Republic collect home and away victories over Madagascar, scoring five goals and keeping two clean sheets against Romuald Rakotondrabe's men.

However, Les Fauves were denied a third consecutive victory on June 17 courtesy of a 2-1 defeat against Angola at the Stade de la Reunification, with Kialonda Gaspar and Milson scoring for the Black Sable Antelopes.

While victory on Thursday guarantees Central African Republic a first-ever AFCON appearance, they have struggled for results away from home, where they have won just one of their last six matches while losing four and claiming one draw since October 2021.

Ghana Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Ghana form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Central African Republic Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Central African Republic form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Hughton has called up an experienced 25-man squad, including the likes of Jordan Ayew, Inaki Williams and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who returns to the squad after missing out of the World Cup last year through a severe knee problem.

Having recently completed a move to Premier League side West Ham United, Mohammed Kudus has also been called up by the Black Stars, while former Chelsea full-back Abdul Baba Rahman returns to the squad.

Jonathan Sowah earns his debut call-up to the senior squad and is the only home-based player in the 25-man list, while Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is the most notable absentee for the hosts after recently picking up an injury.

Central Africa Republic, on the other hand, have named 24 players for Thursday's clash, including Geoffrey Lembet, Marco Yapende and Amiens striker Louis Mafouta.

Mafouta has been a standout performer for Les Fauves and the 29-year-old sits third in the qualifiers scoring charts, only behind Senegal forward Sadio Mane and Nigeria's Victor Osimhen.

However, Central African Republic will take to the pitch without the services of experienced midfielder Kondogbia, who has been out of action since mid-August after picking up an injury while in action for Marseille.

Ghana possible starting lineup:
Ati; Seidu, Aidoo, Opoku, Rahman; Samed, Addo; Williams, Kudus, Panstil; Ayew

Central African Republic possible starting lineup:
Lembet; Ndobe, Yangao, Niamthe, Guinari; Youga, Toropite, Pirioua; Namnganda, Mafouta, Manzoki

We say: Ghana 2-0 Central African Republic

With qualification on the line, we anticipate Ghana and Central African Republic to take the game to each other from the get-go. However, given the gulf in quality and experience between the two sides, we fancy the Black Stars claiming all three points in front of their home supporters.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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