Our football analyst previews the AFCON final which takes place on Friday 19 July 2019.
It’s all or nothing with the AFCON 2019 trophy up for grabs on Friday evening. Senegal and Algeria have been a cut above the rest, so it’s only fitting that the African giants square off in the all-important final! It’s been an entertaining and exciting tournament to say the least, but there can only be one winner, so let’s get to it!
AFCON 2019 Final | Friday 19 July | Cairo International Stadium | 21:00
To Win Match (90 Mins)
To Lift Cup
Senegal and Algeria were both placed in Group C with the latter claiming top spot and the Lions of Taranga finishing as the runners-up. Despite Senegal dominating play, the Desert Warriors managed to earn a hard-fought 1-0 victory when the sides locked horns in the group stage.
The Round of 16 saw Senegal take on Uganda with Sadio Mane popping up in the 15th minute to give his team a 1-0 win. Their quarter-final clash against Benin produced another 1-0 victory for the Lions of Teranga before edging Tunisia 1-0 after extra-time in the semi-finals.
It goes to show how resolute their defence has been but their attacking players need to be at their best if they are going to see off Algeria. Mane is by far their biggest threat with three goals to his name so far. The 27-year-old is direct, quick and always full of energy.
Algeria were absolutely fire in the group stages as they remained unbeaten with three wins from three games, scoring six goals without conceding. And that form continued with the Desert Warriors thrashing Guinea 3-0 in the Round of 16.
They were pushed all the way in the quarter-finals, playing to a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast but prevailing 4-3 after the penalty shoot-out. The semi-finals also proved to be a close call with Riyad Mahrez stepping up six minutes into added time with a breath-taking 20-yard free-kick into the top left-hand corner to send his nation through to the final.
Algeria have a plethora of quality in attack. Apart from Mahrez – who has been the creative fulcrum for his team – Sofiane Feghouli, Adam Ounas and Youcef Belaili are all very much capable of producing match-winning performances.
Prediction: Algeria to Lift the Cup (1/1)
Senegal are gunning for their first ever AFCON title and should have learned from their mistakes in their 1-0 defeat to Algeria in the group stages. A cagey affair is on the cards so expect a cautious approach from both teams. This tournament has brought the best out of Mahrez and Mane. At 5/1, you can back them to both find the back of the net in the final. But if you looking for a winner, Algeria are tipped to remain unbeaten with another patient and solid performance.
Written by @AaronCrowie