Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Senegal vs Tunisia - Match Preview and Prediction
In the beginning, 24 of Africa's finest warrior teams converged in the land of the pharaohs to determine who will rule the roost for the next 2 years. It's been a long and exciting contest for AFCON supremacy so far, and many giants have fallen in battle.
Underdogs and lofty favourites have been sent packing, however, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Teranga Lions of Senegal, the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, and the Desert Warriors of Algeria are the teams left standing.
Which side will claim Africa's ultimate prize?
In the first of two AFCON semi-finals, the Teranga Lions take on the Carthage Eagles in what is sure to be an intense matchup. Africa's top two teams would be looking to live up to their billing by advancing to the final and seeing off either of Algeria or Nigeria.
Both sides had relatively comfortable matchups in the quarterfinals, with Senegal and Tunisia beating giant-killers, Benin and Madagascar respectively.
Aliou Cisse's men are seeking a maiden AFCON crown, having made their first semi-final appearance since 2006. Their best outing so far was an AFCON final loss to Cameroon in 2002. The Senegalese head coach had this to say,
We’re close to the goal, in the sense of us being in the semi-finals. Having got to this stage here we have hope. But we know the hardest is yet to come,” said Cisse, who missed the decisive spot-kick in that loss to Cameroon.
“We hope this year will be the right one. We’re two steps away, which is both a long way and not that far at the same time.”
The Tunisians are looking to win their second AFCON crown, having won their maiden crown 15 years ago on home soil. They have been in the wilderness since then, and this is their first semi-final outing in 15 years.
Interestingly enough, Aliou Cisse was the man who replaced Alain Giresse as Senegal head coach in 2015. The Tunisian head coach had this to say,
“If the match came down to knowledge of the players that would be a good thing, but the reality is different,” said Giresse.
“Knowledge and relationships are one thing but what happens on the pitch is the most important.”
“It’s pretty special to be on the other side, but it’s a personal thing that only concerns me. It won’t factor into the preparation of the Tunisian players,” he added.
The teams have clashed 20 times, with the Tunisians coming out tops. Tunisia has 9 wins to Senegal's 7, nevertheless, that may amount to nothing as the Senegalese do have an impressive ensemble of players, led by the irrepressible Sadio Mane.
This game will certainly go down to the wire, however, expect the Teranga Lions to come out tops.
Final score: Senegal 1-0 Tunisia