Both teams will be hoping to make it two wins from two in World Cup qualifying when Comoros host Ghana on Tuesday.
Comoros defeated Central African Republic 4-2 on Friday, while Ghana beat Madagascar 1-0.
After seeing their fellow East African islanders push Ghana hard in the opening round of fixtures, Comoros will retain genuine belief of causing a major upset against the Black Stars on Tuesday.
Having only become a FIFA member in 2005, the Coelacanths have never qualified for a World Cup before. In fact, their win against CAR was their first ever victory in World Cup qualifying. Younes Zerdouk’s side scored two own goals during the encounter, but came from behind to earn an impressive win.
Comoros actually qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time at the most recent tournament in Cameroon last year, with their historic win against Ghana taking them through to the first knockout stage at their opponents’ expense. They were beaten 2-1 by the hosts after putting in an excellent display.
Clearly, Zerdouk’s side have nothing to fear when they face Ghana once again in Moroni, as they look to maintain their position at the top of Group I.
Indeed, that defeat to Comoros was one of the lowest points in Ghana’s history, as the four-time AFCON champions crashed out at the group stage for the first time since 2006.
Ghana have made it to four of the last five World Cup’s since qualifying for their first ever World Cup in that year, meaning head coach Chris Hughton will firmly be expected to maintain their impressive record in that regard. The former Brighton & Hove Albion boss took charge of the Black Stars in March earlier this year, with their narrow win against Madagascar making it four from eight games so far.
They had to leave it late with Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams – who switched allegiances from Spain ahead of the World Cup last year – finally breaking the deadlock in the sixth minute of injury time. While it was not the perfect start in terms of performance, winning is ultimately all that counts.
Ghana’s biggest threat to claiming top spot in Group I – and an automatic spot at the World Cup in 2026 in the process – is likely to be Mali, but they will certainly not be taking Comoros for granted after their humbling experience in Cameroon last year.
Comoros World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:
Comoros form (all competitions):
Ghana World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:
Ghana form (all competitions):
Comoros are unlikely to make any changes to a winning team after beating CAR, meaning Hertha Berlin forward Myziane Maolida should retain his place in attack after scoring on his international debut in the 4-2 victory.
Zerdouk used five substitutes during his side’s win, suggesting that he has total confidence in his developing playing squad.
Ghana, meanwhile, are without Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey due to a groin injury, with Mohammed Kudus operating in a slightly deeper midfield role against Madagascar.
Defender Daniel Amartey who was subbed in Ghana’s victory over Madagascar due to an injury has failed a late fitness test for the Comoros tie.
Despite putting in a relatively limp performance in their opening qualifying fixture, Hughton may keep faith with the same group of players, meaning Premier League stars Jordan Ayew and Antoine Semenyo could flank the visitors’ attack.
Comoros possible starting lineup:
Boina; Bakari, Zahary, M’Dahoma, Abdallah; Bourhane, Selemani, M’Changama; Youssouf, Maolida, Ahamada
Ghana possible starting lineup:
Ofori; Seidu, Opoku, Kassim, Mensah; Samed, Baba, Kudus; Ayew, Williams, Semenyo
The tricky tie will start at 16:00 GMT.
We say: Comoros 0-1 Ghana
Ghana were far from impressive against Madagascar in their opening fixture, so they are unlikely to be relishing a trip to Comoros, who famously defeated the Black Stars at AFCON last year.
However, the visitors should have ample quality to claim a narrow victory, with Hughton likely to be prioritisng keeping a clean sheet once again.