As the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 Group B resumes on Thursday, 18 January, all eyes will be on Abidjan’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium for a highly anticipated clash between tournament record holders, Egypt, and four-time champions Ghana.

With both teams seeking redemption after stumbling in their opening matches, the stakes are high in this must-win encounter.

Egypt, despite their status as tournament record holders, faced an unexpected hurdle in their opening match, being held to a 1-1 draw by Mozambique. On the other hand, the Black Stars of Ghana suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Cape Verde, losing 2-1 in Abidjan.

The unconvincing showings of both teams in their initial matches have raised questions about their recent form and whether they can live up to their historically high standards.

Both Egypt and Ghana now find themselves in a tricky position, compelled to secure a victory in Thursday’s match to stay in contention for advancing to the next stage. Adding to the intrigue is the current confidence of the so-called underdogs of the group, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, who are riding high after their positive performances.

The head-to-head history between Egypt and Ghana adds another layer of anticipation to this encounter. The two football giants have clashed 23 times across all competitions, with Egypt holding the upper hand with 12 wins compared to Ghana’s five, while six matches ended in draws.

The last meeting in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resulted in a 1-1 draw, with Egypt securing a 3-1 win on aggregate. In AFCON encounters, Egypt held a 2-1 lead in wins, with one match ending in a draw.

Egypt’s recent form has been notable, with an unbeaten streak in their last four meetings against Ghana, securing three wins. In their last 15 games in all competitions, Egypt recorded 12 wins and suffered only one defeat, making them strong favourites.

On the contrary, Ghana has endured a poor run, winning only once in their last six games across all competitions. Their AFCON record is concerning, with just one win in their last 10 games, accompanied by six losses.

Despite Ghana’s recent struggles, the return of Mohammed Kudus from injury provides a potential boost to their attacking strength.

However, considering the current form of both teams and Egypt’s superior recent AFCON record, the Pharaohs are favoured to secure a narrow victory in what promises to be a thrilling encounter at Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium.