Ayew predicts Ghana will extend 54-year dominance of Tunisia
Andre Ayew-captained Ghana seek a seventh straight Africa Cup of Nations victory over Tunisia when they clash Monday in the final last-16 match in Egypt.
After the countries drew a 1963 group game, the Black Stars defeated the Carthage Eagles in Tunis to win the 1965 final and begin an amazing six-match, 54-year winning streak.
“Tunisia will fall in Ismailia on Monday,” predicted Ayew, one of two sons of Ghana legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew in the Ghana squad.
“Football is not only about tactics, it is also about being united as a team and competing for every ball.
“We have to be smart too and I have no doubt that the boys will deliver against Tunisia and reach the quarter-finals.”
The Ayews have made a significant impact already with Crystal Palace forward Jordan scoring two and Fenerbahce midfielder Andre one of the four goals that won Group F.
Here, AFP Sport spotlights the final two last-16 matches with the Ivory Coast playing Mali in Suez before Ghana and Tunisia square off in Ismailia.
Ghana v Tunisia
Perhaps it is their dominance of Tunisia in the Cup of Nations, or better form in the group phase in Egypt, but Ghana are brimming with confidence.
“We have watched them, know how they play and are going to beat them,” promised Ghana midfielder Mubarak Wakaso.
“We are taking this tournament match by match, never looking beyond our next opponents. Our focus in exclusively on defeating Tunisia and reaching the last eight.”
Tunisia have been a major disappointment apart from forward Wahbi Khazri, failing to win a group match and scraping through in second place, four points behind Mali.
The first victim of the poor showing was mental trainer David Marcel, who has been sacked for “interfering in the technical choices during the tournament”, an official said.
Ivory Coast v Mali
Mali are seeking a first victory over fellow west Africans the Ivory Coast at the Cup of Nations after three losses and a draw.
They share 62nd place in the world rankings, suggesting the teams are evenly matched, although the Ivorian Elephants’ squad appears stronger than that of the Malian Eagles.
Ivory Coast coach Ibrahim Kamara has a wealth of attacking talent to choose from, including Jonathan Kodjia, Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha from the top five leagues of Europe.
“We have already done better than in 2017,” said Kamara, referring to the first round elimination of the then defending champions. “Now we have to achieve more.”
Moussa Marega, who scored six times for Porto in the last Champions League, is the stand-out forward for Mali, whose six goals in the group stage was matched only by Algeria.
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