Algeria v Senegal: Foxes and Lions tango to be AFCON

Mane and Mahrez. [PHOTO CREDIT: FIFA.com]
Mane and Mahrez. [PHOTO CREDIT: FIFA.com]

FIFA ranks Senegal as the best footballing nation in Africa and they have proved their ranking by making their first final since 2002. Algeria, ranked 12th, have played the best football in Egypt and look like champions in waiting.

Both countries are coached by former national team captains – a plus for the African game. The Teranga Lions of Senegal have never won the Nations Cup while the Desert Foxes have successfully hunted just one title, in 1990.

Current Form: Algeria [W-W-W-W-W]; Senegal [W-W-W-W-L]

Head to head

27/06/19 ACO Senegal 0 – 1 Algeria

23/01/17 ACO Senegal 2 – 2 Algeria

13/10/15 FRI Algeria 1 – 0 Senegal

27/01/15 ACO Senegal 0 – 2 Algeria

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05/09/08 WQA Algeria 3 – 2 Senegal

Prediction: Algeria 2-1 Senegal

Did You Know: In 22 confrontations, the Foxes have gotten the better of the Lions 13 times.

Senegal lost to the Algerians in the first round though they will point to the absence of VAR for that 1-0 loss. Senegal ave kept five clean sheets in Egypt while Algeria, without conceding any goal before the quarter final, have now conceded in consecutive games.

StatsAlgeriaSenegal
Attempts on Target2526
Corner Kicks2133
Distance Covered [Km]625622
Fouls Committed132118
Yellow Cards108
Goals Scored812
Goals Conceded12

Decoding the Stats

The Algerians will not be averse to technical fouling to get back in shape and preventing the opponent from executing a fast break.

5 duels to watch

Sofiane Feghouli v Idrissa Gueye

Feghouli, 29, with 56 caps is finally showing his true worth for the Fenecs, deployed as a marauding inside forward, with the license to press and destruct – the same job Gueye, also 29, is known for. This clash will be physical and energy-consuming as both seek to control the midfield.

Mehdi Zeffane v Sadio Mane

Zeffane has caught the eye in Egypt with his positioning, power, and pace and he will need all these and more when he faces arguably the best African player at the moment, Sane. The Liverpool forward is both sleek and elusive, given to outrageous moments of skill, which would bamboozle many defenders.

Riyad Mahrez v Youssouf Sabaly

Mahrez is handling his responsibility as his team’s leader quite well. His goal against Nigeria in the dying seconds of their semi-final clash showed he is ready to step up and be counted, which means Sabaly must be totally concentrated and not fall for the deft feints thrown at him.

Baghdad Bounedjah v Salif Sane

In the absence of Kalidou Koulibaly due to suspension, Sane would have to be up for the physical battle with Bounedjah, who has proven to be a constant menace in Egypt.

Remy Bensebaini v Ismaila Sarr

Sarr came on to good effect against Tunisia and that could mean starting against a solid left-back in Bensebaini. The 24-year-old Algerian knows his opponent very well, with both playing in France’s Ligue 1.

What they are saying

“The group stage game is totally different, this is a decisive match. Both teams are on another psychological level. We are playing against the best African ranked team, and they played in the previous World Cup, so we can lose, they are the favorites.” – Djamel Belmadi, Algeria Manager

“Our philosophy is to have every game at a time. The defeat to Algeria in the group stage made us come back stronger. Our players are very good and we will be ready. There’s no big difference between both teams.” – Aliou Cisse, Senegal Manager

Probable Starting XI

Algeria [4-1-4-1]: Rais M’bolhi; Mehdi Zeffane, Aissa Mandi, Djamel Benlamri, Ramy Bensebaini; Adlene Guedioura; Youcef Belaili, Sofiane Feghouli; Riyad Mahrez, Ismael Bennacer, Baghdad Bounedjah

Senegal [4-3-4-1]: Alfred Gomis; Lamine Gassama, Cheikhou Kouyate, Salif Sane, Youssouf Sabaly; Henri Saivet, Badou Ndiaye; Idrissa Gueye, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr; M’baye Niang

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