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Jan 10, 2022 at 7pm UK

Abdallah (45')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Boupendza (16')
Poko (61')

Preview: Comoros vs. Gabon - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Comoros vs. Gabon - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Africa Cup of Nations clash between Comoros and Gabon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Comoros will be making history on Monday as they take to the pitch for the first time ever at the Africa Cup of Nations when they lock horns with Gabon in Group C at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

Gabon, on the other hand, are making their eighth appearance at the continental tournament and will be looking to progress into the knockout stages for the first time since 2012.

Match preview

Comoros will grace the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time ever in their short history on Monday after securing a second-placed finish in Group G of the qualifiers.

Les Coelecantes, who finished runners-up to Egypt, won two, drew three and lost one of their six qualification games to collect nine points and edge out third-placed Kenya by two points.

Comoros were last in action back in September when they steamrollered Seychelles 7-1 in a friendly fixture at the Stade Omnisports de Malouzini to end their three-game winless run.

As they prepare for their first-ever game on the biggest stage in the continent, Amir Abdou's men will set their sights on upsetting a Gabon side who are 43 places ahead in the latest FIFA World rankings, before going up against African giants Morocco and Ghana.

Gabon, on the other hand, secured their place in the Africa Cup of Nations as they finished runners-up in Group D of the qualifiers, only behind group winners Gambia on goal difference.

Patrice Neveu's men, who won three, drew one and lost two of their six qualification games, finished level on 10 points with the Scorpions and one above third-placed Congo DR.

Gabon have managed just two wins from six competitive games since then, which has seen them miss out on a place in the playoffs for the 2022 World Cup after finishing seven points behind Group F winners Egypt.

The Brazilians head into Monday's game fresh off the back of a 1-1 draw with Mauritania in a warm-up friendly match on January 4, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pape Ibnou Ba scored for either side to force a share of the spoils.

Having missed out on a place in the 2019 edition, Gabon will be desperate to make their mark in Cameroon and three points in this weekend's opener will undoubtedly serve as a morale boost ahead of their final two group stage games.

Comoros form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W

Gabon form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

Abdou has named a 28-man squad for the tournament, including Ajaccio's defensive duo of Chaker Alhadhur and Mohamed Youssouf, Auxerre midfielder Iyad Mohamed and Yacine Bourhane, who turns out for Go Ahead Eagles in the Eredivisie.

Guingamp midfielder Youssouf M'Changama holds the Comoros all-time appearance record with 44 appearances and we expect the 31-year-old to handle business at the centre of the park.

Further up the pitch, Red Star Belgrade forward El Fardou Ben Nabouhane, who currently sits at the summit of the nation's all-time scoring chart with 15 goals in 28 appearances, should spearhead the attack once again.

Meanwhile, Gabon head into the tournament with a 28-man squad, including the Premier League duo of Aubameyang and Brighton and Hove Albion forward Ulrick Eneme Ella.

However, the out-of-favour Arsenal man, who is the most prolific goalscorer in the nation's history with 29 goals in 77 games, will miss Monday's game after recently testing positive for COVID-19.

In his absence, several players will push for starting roles in Neveu's preferred two-man attack, including the likes of Ella, Jim Allevinah, Axel Meye and Saint-Etienne forward Denis Bouanga.

Comoros possible starting lineup:
Ahamada; Abdallah, Abdou, Zahary, Youssouf; Mattoir, Bourhane, Abdullah, Selemani; M'Changama, Mogni

Gabon possible starting lineup:
Amonome; Palun, Manga, Oyono, Sambissa; Lemina, Poko, Ngouali, Autchanga; Allevinah, Bouanga

We say: Comoros 0-2 Gabon

Despite suffering a major blow with the absence of Aubameyang, Gabon boasts a significantly stronger and more experienced crop of players when compared to the newcomers. We anticipate a thrilling contest between the two sides with the Brazilians claiming all three points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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