Egypt players train ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Ghana, October 9Reuters

Two teams in great form, looking to make the 2014 World Cup, clash on Tuesday as Ghana entertain Egypt in the first leg of the playoffs in Kumasi.

Ghana are hunting their third straight appearance at the world's biggest international football tournament, and have been in prime form, comfortably finishing top of their qualifying group, four points ahead of 2012 African Cup of Nations champions Zambia.

The Black Stars are at their strongest at home, where they haven't lost since 2008; their record at the Baba Yara Stadium, the venue for Tuesday's match, is even better with the team unbeaten there since 2000.

Having said that though, Ghana will know Egypt is likely to give them their toughest test yet in recent years.

"It's a big game, a game which is important to all Ghanaians," Ghana coach Kewsi Appiah said. "Every member on my team is aware of that.

"Egypt are seven-time African champions and trying to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990. That will give them some added boost going into the game.

"Their record in its sense means that we cannot look down on them. We can't get complacent. We have to prepare well and remain focused."

Egypt, now coached by former U.S. manager Bob Bradley, were equally dominant in their own group and will look to come away from the first leg with at least a draw.

"We studied Ghana well," Bradley said. "We respect them, but at the same time we are a good team.

"We must be smart in Kumasi. We need to play with the right mentality, intellectually but with confidence."

Bradley singled out Asamoah Gyan as the man to watch in the Ghana side, saying the former Sunderland striker was capable of finding the back of the net at anytime.

"Gyan is a difficult player because he can be invisible for long periods in a match; he is still fast and strong and at the moment he can cause trouble and that's what he did when he played USA in 2010 World Cup during the extra time which determined the outcome of the game," Bradley added. "So we will try and keep him out of our dangerous areas but I know it will be difficult."

Team news: Ghana have several injury worries with their main man Kevin-Prince Boateng ruled out of the match. Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah and Mohamed Rabiu are also sidelined while Harrison Afful is suspended.

Egypt fare much better on the injury front with only long-term victim Ahmed Hegazi missing.

Key men: Ghana: The midfield of Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari will be key to controlling the game for the home side. Essien has not played much football for Chelsea this season, and the powerful midfielder will be keen to make an impression for his country.

Egypt: Mohamed Salah has been one of the standout players in Europe over the last year or so, thriving on the wings for Swiss side FC Basel in the Europa League last season, and the Champions League this year.

Where to watch

The game is set for a 9.30 p.m. (IST) start with no live coverage scheduled.

Expected lineups: Ghana: Kingson, Opare, Addy, Akaminko, Sumaila, Essien, Asamoah, Muntari, Ayew, Wakaso, Gyan.

Egypt: Ekrami, Fathi, Moawad, Gomaa, Naguib, Elneny, Ashour, Ghaly, Abou-Treika, Soliman, Salah.

Prediction: 1-1

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