SENEGAL V ALGERIA AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS FINAL (AFCON 2019).
COMPETITION: 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
VENUE: Cairo International Stadium
DATE: Friday, July 19
KICK-Off: 20:00 BS
HALF TIME: 0-1
B. BOUNEDJAH 2 MINUTE GOAL
Senegal and Algeria face off in Cairo this Friday having scored the highest number of goals (eight and 12) and overcome two tough semi-final tests against Tunisia and Nigeria.
Senegal crept past Tunisia with a 1-0 extra-time win after both sides had already missed a penalty, while Algeria needed an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez to secure their passage to Friday’s showpiece.
Algeria have arguably been the best team at Afcon 2019 and are fully deserving of their place in Friday’s final. El Khadra have outscored every team in the tournament so far, notching an impressive 12 goals – four clear of Nigeria and Senegal.
Senegal, of course, have fearsome attackers such as Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Keita Balde to call upon, but the Lions of Teranga have already fallen to Algeria once in Egpyt: their 1-0 group stage defeat in Cairo. Senegal have won every game since then, though, scoring six without reply, while star man Mane has grown into the tournament with each passing match.
He and Riyad Mahrez – who scored a wonderful late free-kick to get Algeria to this stage – will obviously play key roles for their nations, but watch out for the likes of Adam Ounas and Ismaila Sarr, whose pace from the bench has caused havoc at times this summer.
This one has all the ingredients to be the perfect showpiece.
WHO IS STILL IN THE RACE FOR THE AFCON 2019 GOLDEN BOOT?
The race for the AFCON 2019 Golden Boot is absolutely wide open. Odion Ighalo’s fine form has elevated him to the top of the goalscoring charts with four strikes but just behind him on three are Algeria’s Ounas and Mahrez, as well as Senegal’s Mane. DR Congo’s Cedric Bakambu also has three goals but with no more games left to play, he can’t extend his total.
Ighalo has a third-place playoff match against Tunisia still to play and if goalkeeper Mouez Hassen continues to be as erratic as he has been throughout the tournament, the former Watford man could fill his boots.
The final between Senegal and Algeria may very well be a tighter affair but Mane and Mahrez will no doubt be the ones their teammates will look to for their nation’s openings, so don’t bet against them notching in a couple of goals.
With the likes of Mane and Sarr within their ranks – as well as Idrissa Gueye anchoring the midfield – there are few teams in Africa who Senegal should fear. However, Friday’s showdown pits Aliou Cisse’s side against one of their perennial bogey teams.
The last time Senegal managed a victory against their North African adversaries was way back in May 2008 when a goal from Abdoulaye Faye sealed a 1-0 win.
Since then, these two sides have faced off five times, with Algeria winning four and drawing the other, scoring nine goals in the process.
This is arguably the best side Senegal have ever assembled so confidence will be high regardless, and records are there to be broken. That said, the weight of history has come down hard on the very best in football time and time again.
Senegal predicted XI: Gomis; Gassama, Kouyate, Sane, Sabaly; Saivet, Ndiaye, Gueye; Sarr, Niang, Mane
Algeria predicted XI: M’bolhi; Zeffane, Mandi, Benlamri, Bensebaini; Guedioura, Bennacer, Feghouli; Mahrez, Bounedjah, Belaili
Mahrez and Mane will obviously play key roles for their teams but it’ll be in the midfield where the game is won and lost. If Idrissa Gueye can channel his energy to silence the likes of Bennacer and Feghouli, it could release Senegal’s seriously impressive forward line to wreak havoc.
Senegal 2-1 Algeria AET
Senegal 1-2 Algeria
SENEGAL RECENT PERFORMANCE: WWWWLW
ALGERIA RECENT PERFORMANCE: WDWWWW
1-1 Ivory Coast
Senegal vs Algeria Head to Head
Algeria have a 4-2 advantage with two draws from eight previous matches against Senegal. The North Africans have won three of the last four meetings including a 1-0 victory during the group stage.
Youcef Belaili got the only goal of the game as Algeria nullified every threat posed by Senegal.
Golding Gloves, Most Valuable Player (MVP), Golding Boot
Highest goal scorer.