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Rupert Wyman 18th Jan 2010 - 23:29

The Black Stars could struggle to sparkle against Burkina Faso

Ghana have to beat Burkina Faso to qualify for the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations and at odds of 8/15 the Black Stars look far too short, especially considering their injury-hit team has suffered the further blow of Chelsea's Michael Essien withdrawing from the tournament.

Ghana were incredibly disappointing against the Ivory Coast in their last match as they fell to a 3-1 defeat and this was with the Elephants down to ten men for the last 35 minutes following Emmanuel Eboue's dismissal.

Burkina Faso on the other hand when they played the Ivory Coast set up to frustrate them and they did just that as they came away with a creditable 0-0 draw.

Therefore it is hard to see there being any value in the 8/15 and this would be the case even if Essien was able to play. But the midfielder's absence is added to the already missing duo of Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari.

The draw to me at 13/5 looks the most likely result, but if you fancy a real shock you can get 4/1 about a win for the Stallions. However, I think the latter will be pushing it a bit too much. The double chance option of a Burkina Faso win or a draw is 23/20 which means that is the price for them to qualify, as only a Ghana win can take the Black Stars through.

A draw would be good enough to see Burkina Faso progress past the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations for just the second time in their history. If they do achieve this, they will have obviously been helped by Togo's withdrawal as just the three teams remain in Group B. It will still be a great success though for the team ranked 49th in the world.

As a result of Burkina Faso's likely defensive outlook in the match, one has to go for the under 2.5 goals option which is priced at 8/13 in the total goals betting.

I can see a repeat of the 0-0 scoreline (8/1) achieved against the Ivory Coast, but as is usual take the same price for the no scorer option in the goalscorer betting, as if just own goals are scored you will get paid out as well.

For this to happen the Stallions will have to defend as well as they did in their opening match, but one has to fancy their chances, as if they can keep the immense Didier Drogba out then surely they can keep out a rather impotent Ghanaian attack which is missing its midfield stars to help out.

So be bold and brave and go against the odds-on jollies and back the Stallions to show that the Black Stars are currently missing their sparkle.



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