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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Ghana v Benin: Squad News & Match Preview

14:34 GMT+3 25/06/2019
Andre Ayew, Daniel Amartey Ghana celebrate
All attention at the continental gathering turns to Group F where the Black Stars and The Squirrels will battle for three points

As Group F takes its turn at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt, an interesting match awaits at the Ismailia Stadium where four-time champions Ghana face minnows Benin on Tuesday. 

The Black Stars will be seeking to register the kind of win that reflects their ambition of winning a first continental title since 1982 and sends a strong warning to the rest of the 23 teams at the tournament. 
The Squirrels, on the other hand, are eyeing a famous surprise that would no doubt rate as their biggest ever result at the continental showpiece. 
The match will be the second game of the group, with current holders Cameroon set to take on Guinea-Bissau in the first match of the day.


Ghana v Benin
Date Tuesday, June 25
Time 20:00 GMT

Squads & Team News

Ghana coach James Appiah has no injury worries ahead of the game. 

Leicester City's Daniel Amartey, Udinese's Nicholas Opoku, Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp, Alfred Duncan of Sassuolo and Harrison Afful all failed to make the Black Stars Afcon party due to injury, but Appiah and his technical team should have adapted to their squad losses by now. 
Atletico Madrid ace Thomas Partey is expected to be the key man in midfield, with Inter's Kwadwo Asamoah, Deportivo Alaves' Mubarak Wakaso and captain Andre Ayew all expected to contribute to make Ghana's midfield one of the strongest in Egypt
Upfront, Jordan Ayew, who netted only one league goal last season, is expected to lead the attack ahead of veteran striker Asamoah Gyan. 

Benin have a major headache as talisman Stephane Sessegnon is suspended for the Ghana opener.

Huddersfield Town striker Steve Mounie and Turkey-based Mickael Pote have a huge responsibility to help The Squirrels' bid for a stunning start to their first Afcon finals since 2010.
“Ghana have big players like Andre Ayew, Asamoah Gyan, Wakaso, [Christian] Atsu, [John] Boye and many others. But we have a target to also win the tournament, so we’re determined," Benin coach Michel Dussuyer said at the pre-match conference on Monday. 
“Of course the absence of certain players in the team is affecting us but we know our first game is against Ghana and we are determined to give a good account of our game and we have prepared for that so that the absence won’t affect us."

Match Preview

Ghana coach Appiah has come under criticism for his side's inability to find the back of the net in their two preparatory games played ahead of the tournament. 

The Stars lost 1-0 to Namibia before being held to a goalless draw by South Africa. Captain Ayew, however, believes they are ready for their quest for a fifth continental title. 
“It’s been a great competition and all the teams have shown their quality and every team deserves to be here so we are fully prepared,” the 29-year-old said at the pre-match conference. 
For the Squirrels, who will be appearing at the Afcon for the fourth time and have lost eight of their nine games played so far and drawn the last (2-2 with Mozambique in 2010), the goal is pretty simple: “Benin have never won a match at the tournament so, if we win one game, we will be in the history books and that will be great for us,” says Mounie. 
“It doesn’t matter who it is against. Our first aim is to win a game and then we will see if we can get out of the group.” 
Tuesday's meeting will be Ghana's first ever clash with Benin at the Afcon.