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Why Ghana Can Still Qualify for 2023 AFCON Even With Defeat Against CAR on Final Day
- Ghana looked listless in their penultimate AFCON 2023 Qualifying match
- They were held by Madagascar to a goalless draw
- The Black Stars will face the Central African Republic in the final round of matches
Ghana postponed their qualification for next year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament following a scoreless stalemate with Madagascar on Sunday, June 18.
Despite being unbeaten in three matches under the guidance of former Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur manager Chris Hughton, the Black Stars encountered a frustrating encounter against the struggling Barea, who sit at the bottom of Group E with only two points from five matches.
Highlighting the frustrations of Ghana, they could only muster two shots on target while facing some nervy moments despite dominating possession.
Group E remains wide open, as Ghana, Angola, and the Central African Republic all retain a mathematical opportunity to secure a place in the prestigious continental championship.
Sports Brief looks at the permutations of Group E ahead of the final round of matches in September, which favours Ghana:
1. A win for Ghana
Ghana takes pride in an incredibly strong home record, remaining undefeated in competitive matches at their own backyard since 2000. As they approach their final group game, the enthusiastic home crowd eagerly anticipates nothing less than a victorious outcome.
In the advent, the Black Stars secure a win on the final day against CAR; Chris Hughton's charges will qualify as group winners regardless of the result from Angola and Madagascar.
2. Draw for Ghana
Ghana remains unbeaten throughout their five qualifying matches, but the Black Stars are yet to win a game since matchday three against Angola.
The seeming blunt nature of Ghana's attack - scoring three goals in their last four qualifiers, averaging 0.75 goals per match - means a draw is the most likely outcome in the West African's final group game.
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A draw will still be good enough to qualify Hughton's side to the competition but a win for Angola against bottom-placed Madagascar will see the Palancas Negras usurp the Black Stars at the summit.
3. Loss for Ghana
This is the worst-possible outcome for the four-time African champions. Nonetheless it is not out of the remits of possibility.
While Ghana will be banking on their home invincibility against CAR, the Wild Beasts could take a cue from South Africa, the last African side to beat the Black Sytars on home soil some 23 years ago in the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.
Should the worst fears suffice, Ghana could still qualify, albeit with favourable results from the other group game involving Angola and Madagascar. If their closest contenders, Angola, play out a draw or also taste defeat in the unlikely event, Ghana will qualify for Ivory Coast 2023.
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Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Ghana's Africa Cup of Nations qualification has been pushed until the final day following a goalless draw game in Antananarivo against Madagascar.
Only two points separate the top three sides in the group, which means any of Ghana, Angola, and CAR can qualify for Ivory Coast 2023.
The Black Stars will face the Central African Republic in September for a place at AFCON 2023.