Dave Farrar predicts Cameroon v Gabon and Guinea-Bissau v Burkina Faso will have plenty of goal-mouth action and drama.
“A draw will do it for Cameroon, but Gabon's all-out attacking approach won't let them play for one, and I wouldn't be surprised to see either a high-scoring draw, or a 2-1 win either way.”
The hosts Gabon are staring at the exit as Group A reaches its closing set of games: they were within three minutes of starting the tournament with a win, but Guinea-Bissau's late equaliser, and their subsequent failure to beat Burkina Faso, have cost Gabon. A draw against Cameroon MAY be enough to qualify them, but it would leave them at the mercy of the other result.
Gabon were unfortunate against Burkina Faso, and as well as the obvious attacking threat of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, I've been impressed by Denis Bouanga and Malick Evouna. This is a team that has goals in it, and it's that attacking flair, if anything, that could carry them into the quarter finals.
Cameroon start as favourites, albeit narrow ones. They're [2.72] for the win here, and deserve to be, having outperformed expectations so far. They too have looked a good attacking side with defensive weaknesses, having conceded in both of their opening games.
Before Cameroon got their winner against Guinea-Bissau, this Group had every chance of featuring a double drawing of lots, with every game on target to finish 1-1. That fact should give us a pointer as to how these final games will play out. Evenly matched, with goals.
"Yes" to Both Teams To Score here is available at around [1.98] and that looks a bet, as does Over 2.5 Goals at [2.3] - a draw will do it for Cameroon, but Gabon's all-out attacking approach won't let them play for one, and I wouldn't be surprised to see either a high-scoring draw, or a 2-1 win either way.
Recommended Bet: "Yes" to Both Teams To Score in Cameroon v Gabon @ [1.98]
Recommended Bet: Over 2.5 Goals in Cameroon v Gabon @ [2.3]
The same logic, or part of it at least, applies to the other closing game in Group A. Guinea-Bissau have done brilliantly to give themselves a chance of qualifying, while Burkina Faso have been everything that we expected of them: obdurate, useful, very hard to beat.
Guinea-Bissau must win to have any chance of going through, and that takes me back to a point that I've made in both of their previews so far. They have two clear styles of playing, home and away. We saw the "away" style in their opening game against Gabon, when they played for a draw and got it, and then the more expansive "home" style in the second, which they lost 2-1.
You only have to look at their results from qualifying to see the difference writ large, and I think that their approach in this final game will lead to more goals here. It may cost them, but it's the only way that they can go about their business.
Burkina Faso have the kind of players who can punish on the counter-attack, with Bertrand Traore ready to show how good he is, and Alain Traore due a big performance. While they'll miss Jonathan Pitroipa, I think they'll have just too much for Guinea-Bissau, in what should be another good game to watch.
The Guinea-Bissau style of play theory worked for us against Cameroon though, and I'm sticking with it here.
Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Goals in Guinea-Bissau v Burkina Faso @ [2.4]