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Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Senegal vs Algeria - Match Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
Preview
19 Jul 2019, 19:05 IST

Senegal's Sadio Mane tussles with Algeria's Riyad Mahrez during their group C clash
Senegal's Sadio Mane tussles with Algeria's Riyad Mahrez during their group C clash

It's the Africa Cup of Nations grand finale!

Africa's finest footballing artisans have waged a scintillating contest, but finally, only two teams stand in the battle for continental supremacy. The Teranga Lions of Senegal and the Desert Foxes of Algeria meet for the second time in this edition, with the Algerians outfoxing the Lions of Senegal last time out.

Aliou Cisse's Senegal will be looking to clinch a maiden triumph to put to bed the ghosts of their 2002 AFCON final loss to Cameroon. The current head coach missed a decisive spot-kick, as the Cameroonians won 3-2 on penalties.

The Algerians, on the other hand, are seeking their second AFCON title, with their first coming in 1990 on home soil. That has been a huge 29-year wait, and the Algerians will be looking to uphold their 100 per cent AFCON final record as they play in their second-ever title decider.

Both sides have had an impressive campaign so far, with the Algerians growing in leaps and bounds through the tournament.

They topped a group consisting of Senegal, Tanzania, and Kenya, securing maximum points. The Desert Foxes then beat Guinea 3-0 in the RO16, beat Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals on penalties, and finally beat the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the semifinal via a sensational Riyad Mahrez strike to reach the final.

Senegal have been very efficient so far. They finished second in their group with 2 wins, they then saw off Uganda and Benin via lone goals in the RO16 and quarterfinals respectively. In the semis, it took an extra time own goal to get past the Tunisians. Senegal has conceded just once in the entire tournament.

However, the Teranga Lions will be without their defensive linchpin, Kalidou Koulibaly, for the title decider. He picked one too many yellow cards after conceding a penalty in the semifinal against Tunisia.

Apart from Koulibaly's suspension, both teams have fighting fit rosters to choose from.

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Prediction

The teams have met 22 times so far, with Algeria having the lion share of wins at 12. Senegal has been victorious on just 4 occasions.

The only goal Senegal has conceded in this tournament was a Mohamed Youcef Belaili strike for Algeria in the group stage. Both teams feature very thrifty defences, with the Teranga Lions and Desert Foxes conceding just 3 goals in total between them all through the tournament so far.

The Algerians will go into the game knowing they can beat Senegal, and the Teranga Lions wouldn't want to be outfoxed once again by their opponents. Expect this game to go down to the wire.

Final score: Senegal 2-1 Algeria

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