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Rupert Wyman 22nd Jan 2010 - 22:36

Angola won't be star-struck against Ghana

Angola, backed by patriotic home support, take on Ghana in the first quarter-final of this year's Africa Cup of Nations. The hosts are the narrow favourites at 11/8 and look well worth a bet against the Black Stars.

Angola were one of just three teams to reach the quarter-finals with an unbeaten record as they finished top of Group A. Ghana, on the other hand, have had a rather stuttering campaign as they sealed their place in the last eight with a far from convincing 1-0 victory over outsiders Burkina Faso.

Host nations always do much better in these tournaments as only four times in the 26 previous events has a host nation not got to at least the semi-finals. This year's is no exception, but Angola do have some quality players to go with home advantage and I fully expect them to take advantage of an out-of-sorts and depleted Ghana side.

Three of their stars - Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Stephen Appiah - are missing and the Black Stars lack firepower to get past Angola.

The 11/8 about a 90 minutes win looks good value, but the best bet could well be the Black Antelopes to qualify at 4/6 as this could easily be a tight and tense affair that goes to extra time, or even a dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Nevertheless I think the hosts will seal their place in the last four thus continuing host nation's fantastic record in the Africa Cup of Nations.



Ivory Coast v Algeria

The second quarter-final features the tournament favourites, Ivory Coast, and controversial last eight participants, Algeria. The Desert Foxes reached the quarter-finals with a controversial 0-0 draw against Angola which was a result that eliminated Mali from the Africa Cup of Nations.

The nature of the match was suspicious but nevertheless the Algerians are in the quarter-finals and they will look to out-fox the Ivory Coast to seal their place in the semis. However, this is a scenario I cannot envisage.

The Elephants, quite rightly, are the hot favourites at 4/7 and they should fully justify this price. They may not have played to their potential yet in the competition, but I don't think Algeria have the attacking nous and pedigree to trouble the Ivorians too much.

Led by Didier Drogba (10/3 to score first, 4/5 to score anytime) the Elephants are a daunting prospect and they should reach the last four relatively easily.

As we reach the business end of the tournament the cream should rise to the top and the Ivory Coast are definitely in that bracket in African football.



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