AFCON 2019 final: Senegal v Algeria preview


After 51 games played across Egypt, with no shortage of commitment, excitement, surprises and quality, we arrive at the final which will see Senegal face Algeria in the battle to be crowned champions of Africa.

Both teams have looked impressive throughout and possess solid defensive units, tidy midfield technicians and quick, potent attacking threats. There can be little argument that the two best teams have made it to the final being played at the Cairo International Stadium tomorrow at 8pm UK time.

Although the Algerians beat Senegal in the group stage, there is nothing to choose between the two sides. Senegal, perhaps, have the better individual players while Algeria are a very efficient side playing some lovely football at the moment. Therefore, both sides will believe they have the capability and ammunition to clinch the title.

Aliou Cissé’s Senegal will be looking to win the tournament for the first time, and are a physically powerful outfit with quality throughout.

Energetic full backs Lamine Gassama and Youssouf Sabaly provide the width in a 4-3-3 formation, with captain Cheikhou Kouyate joined at the heart of the backline by the imperious Kalidou Koulibaly who capable of some wonderful cross field passing to bring the aforementioned full backs into play.

In front of them, Idrissa Gana Gueye is having a great tournament as both a ball winner and keeping the play ticking over alongside Henri Saivet and Badou Ndiaye.

The front three include exciting youngster Krepin Diatta alongside M’Baye Niang and of course star man and talisman Sadio Mané, who Senegal will look to for a special and decisive moment in front of goal.

Manager Cissé told a pre-match press conference that he expects a very tough game against Algeria, and fine margins are likely to prove the difference:

Image – @CAF_Online

Djamel Belmadi’s Algeria are a well oiled machine built on the consistent foundations and understanding of central defenders Ramy Bensebaini and Aissa Mandi.

‘Les Verts’ also deploy a 4-3-3 formation, with full backs Mehdi Zeffane and Djameleddine Benlamri offering width and joining up with wide forwards Youcef Belaili and main man Riyad Mahrez, who has been in sparkling form this summer.

Sofiane Feghouli and Adlene Guedioura are given the freedom to push on from midfield by the impressive Ismaël Bennacer, who is a very tenacious player with great technical ability.

The lively Baghdad Bounedjah is likely to lead the line, and will be looking to rediscover his form after going five games without a goal.

Coach Belmadi says that while he expects a real battle against Senegal, he hopes to lift the trophy for the Algerian fans, while speaking of his longtime friendship with opposite number Aliou Cissé:

Image @CAF_Online

The head to head record is tipped in Algeria’s favour, with three wins in the last five meetings with the other two ending in draws.

However, previous results will go out of the window as the destination of the African Cup of Nations 2019 will be decided in Friday’s contest between Senegalese athleticism and Algerian technique.


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