Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Predictions for Day 10 of Group Stage

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2013

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 24:  Mubarak Wakaso (L) of Ghana and Seydou Keita of Mali during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between Mali and Ghana at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on January 24, 2013 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images

It will be tough for Group B to match the excitement of the final day of Group A play, but never count anything out at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Day 10 features one of the deepest groups of the entire tournament. Ghana has gotten out to an early lead with four points, but Mali, Congo DR and Niger are all capable of advancing to the quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, only two teams will make it out of the group, and it all depends on what happens in Monday's matches.

Here are predictions for the final two matches in Group B before the knockout stage.

Congo DR vs. Mali

In the first match of the tournament for Congo DR, the team pulled off an impressive draw against heavily favored Ghana. This was no easy feat, especially considering it was down 2-0 in the second half.

Unfortunately, the squad was unable to build off this momentum and only managed a scoreless draw against Niger.

The team is now in the unenviable state of being down one point to Mali and needing a victory in order to advance to the next stage.

Mali knows this going in and will likely play conservatively in order to secure at least one point. This squad features some of the best midfielders on the continent, so it will be able to keep possession for a long time, especially with an early lead.

Congo DR has had a solid run, but it ends in the group stage.

Prediction: Mali 0, Congo DR 0

Ghana vs. Niger

It is quite impressive that Ghana is leading this group and yet it has not played anywhere close to its potential in the first two matches.

The group was fortunate to get a 1-0 victory over Mali in the previous match, needing a penalty shot to get on the scoreboard.

However, forward Asamoah Gyan is just waiting to break through with a goal or two at some point in this tournament.

Niger earned a point with a draw against Congo DR in the last match, and it was the first point the country ever received in the Africa Cup of Nations.

While this group has potential in the future, it will simply be overmatched against Ghana in this round-robin showdown.

Ghana has yet to play well for a full 90 minutes. That should finally happen in the upcoming match.

Prediction: Ghana 2, Niger 0

Table Predictions

Ghana wins the group with seven points, while Mali sneaks into the quarterfinals with four. Both teams can be serious contenders in the knockout stage, but it will take much better play than they have shown so far in this championship.