The Black Stars of Ghana go into Friday's match against The Panthers of Gabon at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium knowing it is a must-win match by all means.
Gabon vs Ghana: Kickoff time, venue, team news, predictions - AFCON 2021 Preview
Gabon battle Ghana is Group C's star match on Friday while Morocco face group minnows, Comoros
Milovan Rajevac's men fell to Morocco by a lone goal in their Group C opener and the journey could be over as soon as Matchday 2 if the Ghanaians lose to Gabon.
On the other hand, three points for Gabon against their fellow West Africans would secure a place in the Round-of-16 for Patrice Neveu's side.
In the other Group C game, Morocco will face the group's weeping boys Comoros for a chance to secure their place in the Round-of-16.
Form and Head-to-Head
Ghana's loss to Morocco was the first they had ended on the losing side in their last 5 competitive games, winning three and drawing one of the remaining four.
The Panthers of Gabon have won three of their last five competitive games while losing the other two. Their 1-0 win over Comoros on Matchday 1 puts them at the top of Group C notwithstanding.
In Head-to-head matches, the Ghanaians have a perfect result. Winning all three of their previous encounters. Both teams first met in June 2008 during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers where the Black Stars secured 2-0 victories in both legs. In a November 2011 friendly fixture, Ghana ran out 2-1 winners.
Date, Kick-off time and Venue
The Gabon Vs Ghana game is scheduled to hold on Friday, January 14 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde by 8 pm Nigerian time.
Team News and Possible Line-ups
The Gabonese have been given a big boost ahead of the match with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Mario Lemina both available for the fixture after recovering from coronavirus.
The Ghanaians have no injury concerns ahead of this game and will be hoping that the Ayew brothers can get into gear as part of their attacking trio alongside Paintsil.
Gabon Possible Starting XI: Jean-Noel Amonome; Lloyd Palun, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Sidney Obissa, Johann Obiang; Mario Lemina, Andre Poko; Denis Bouanga, David Sambissa, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Aaron Boupendza.
Ghana Possible Starting XI: Jojo Wollacott; Andy Yiadom, Alexander Djiku, Daniel Amartey, Baba Rahman; Idrissu Baba, Thomas Partey; Andre Ayew Joseph Paintsil, Kamaldeen Sulemana; Jordan Ayew.
Gabon and Ghana both need the points for different reasons which will keep them motivated all through the match. The return of Aubameyang and Lemina for the Gabonese could make this match more competitive than it would seem. Both sides would likely share the spoils with a 1-1 draw.
In the other Group C game, Morocco is expected to secure a straight win against Island nation Comoros in Yaounde. A 2-0 victory could be on the cards for the North Africans.