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Egypt favourites but must dismantle Ghana defence

Last Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 13:18

Luanda: Holders Egypt are favourites to win Sunday`s African Nations Cup final (1600 GMT) although they face a tough task breaking down Ghana`s accomplished defence.

Egypt are in search of an unprecedented third successive title, and a record seventh overall, while Ghana are in the final for the first time in 18 years.

That the Black Stars have made it this far in Angola has defied all pre-tournament predictions.
Ghana lost several key players through injury before the start of the finals and left out key midfielder Sulley Muntari for disciplinary reasons.

To add to their woes, captain Michael Essien played just 45 minutes at the Nations Cup before suffering a knee injury in a training ground collision and was ruled out for six weeks.

But despite the odds stacked against them, Ghana have put in snatch and grab performances to reach the final.

They beat hosts Angola 1-0 in their quarter-final last Sunday and on Thursday scored early against Nigeria before turning in a stout defensive performance in the semi-final.

Ghana, whose squad has eight players from their world champion under-20 team of last September, will be tested by an Egypt attack that ha scored 14 goals in five games here.
Substitute striker Mohamed Nagui is the leading scorer at the tournament with four goals.

Success for Egypt will highlight their surprise failure to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. Ghana are one of six African countries competing at the finals starting in June.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 13:18

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