Niger-Ghana Betting Preview: Expect goals to come at a premium in crucial encounter

While a point would be enough for the Black Stars to book their place in the knockout stages, Al Hain-Cole expects their opponents' need for victory to make for a tight game
As Group B reaches its climax, Ghana look well-placed to reach the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for the fourth tournament in a row.

The four-time champions know that even a draw against Niger would ensure qualification to the knockout stages, although they will want to pick up all three points in order to secure top spot and a less intimidating draw for the last eight.

The Black Stars are overwhelming favourites to secure victory against Niger, with Paddy Power offering odds of 2/5 (1.40) on them ending the group stage with a bang.

Unlike their illustrious opponents, Gernot Rohr’s men need a win to have any chance of progression, but are long shots at 8/1 (9.00) to pick up the necessary points in order to keep their hopes of a first ever second round appearance alive.

The stalemate against DR Congo in their opening game was the Menas’ first ever point at this tournament, and you can get odds of 16/5 (4.20) on them doubling that tally against one of the continent’s superpowers this afternoon.

Although they are yet to win at this level, Niger have certainly not embarrassed themselves in either this year’s tournament or their debut campaign last year.

Rohr has his side well drilled enough to ensure that they always stay competitive, and they have only conceded one goal so far this tournament, having let in a respectable five in three during the 2012 edition.

With plenty riding on this game, it should be a tight encounter, and so odds of 8/13 (1.63) seem rather generous on under 2.5 goals being scored in Port Elizabeth.

This bet would have paid out in four of the minnows’ five games at this level, and 11 of their opponents’ last 12 in this competition.

Eyebrows were raised when James Kwesi Appiah controversially left out the Ayew brothers from the travelling squad, with many wondering where the goals would come from.

However, the Ghanaian midfielders have managed to fill the gap left by a misfiring strike force, with all three goals so far in South Africa coming from the centre of the park.

Udinese's Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu opened the scoring in the first match against DR Congo, meaning he has now scored twice in his last four caps.

With match-winner against Mali Wakaso Mubarak suspended for this game, Agyemang-Badu will be expected to provide even more threat from midfield, and offers great value at 3/1 (4.00) to score anytime in this one.

Under 2.5 goals at 8/13 (1.63) with Paddy Power
Agyemang-Badu to score anytime at 3/1 (4.00) with Paddy Power

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.