Verdict: Algeria win
Best Odds: 19/10
After an action-packed summer at this year’s African Cup of Nations, Senegal and Algeria will meet in Cairo on Friday night as both nations look to be crowned the 2019 AFCON champions.
Starting with Senegal, while the Lions of Teranga may have needed extra-time to past Tunisia in their semi-final showdown in Cairo last weekend, Aliou Cissé’s side dominated for the most part and the mood in their camp will undoubtedly be on a high. Now winning five of their six matches at this year’s AFCON, there is no doubt that they have their sights firmly set on lifting their first African crown on Friday. Although Senegal’s fearsome attacking line-up consisting of the likes of Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Keita Balde may have seen the West Africa’s gain plenty of plaudits, the Lions have also shown some much-needed defensive resolve. Once again coming away with a clean sheet against Tunisia last time out, they have now gone over 450 minutes without conceding a single goal and have remarkably picked the ball out of their net just once since the 26th of March. While Senegal have only gone from strength to strength as they have progressed out in Egypt this summer, Cissé’s side have already fallen once against Algeria during their Group C campaign. Finishing three points adrift of their opponents on Friday in the race for qualification, their 1-0 defeat against Algeria last month is their only defeat so far in the tournament.
The only casualty for Alou Cisse’s side is goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who suffered a fractured hand earlier in the tournament and remains out.
As for Algeria, while they may have also left it late against Nigeria last weekend, Djamel Belmadi’s men have continued to shine and have come on leaps and bounds from the side that failed to make it out of the group stages in Gabon two years ago. Winning each of their six matches out in Egypt, a huge part of their recent resurge has come thanks to their form in the final third. Bagging 12 goals so far this summer, no team holds a better-attacking record than the North African outfit. One man to watch for the Greens will be the red-hot, Riyad Mahrez. Scoring a sublime stoppage-time free-kick to secure Algeria’s spot in the final of this year’s tournament, the Manchester City winger has three goals so far and is the man spearheading Belmadi’s charge. With the mood in their camp the highest it has been in recent memory and many tipping them as a favorite heading into Friday’s AFCON finale, Algeria will also be boosted by their very eye-catching record against their African rivals. Including picking up a 1-0 win when they last faced off against Senegal in their penultimate Group C matchup, Algeria are unbeaten in their last four matches against Senegal, winning three of those contests.
With no injury concerns, Algeria look set to name the same starting XI that knocked Nigeria out.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides met in their second Group C encounter, Algeria came away with a 1-0 victory.
- That is the only goal that Senegal have conceded at this year’s AFCON.
- Algeria are unbeaten in their last four matches against Senegal, winning three of those contests.
- Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez has three goals at this year’s African Cup of Nations.
- Algeria’s 12 goals is the best return of any side at this year’s African Cup of Nations.
While Senegal have undoubtedly made improvements as the tournament has progressed, it is hard to overlook an Algerian side that have continued to shine out in Egypt this summer. Given the Greens’ stellar record against their African counterparts, including their 1-0 victory when the two nations met back in Group C last month, we’re backing Djamel Belmadi’s side to lift the AFCON on Friday night.
Verdict: Algeria win
Best Odds: 19/10
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