This year’s magnificent Africa Cup of Nations comes to a close tonight with the trophy set to be contested by Senegal and Algeria.
Surprises and late drama have characterised significantly the tournament in Egypt with Madagascar and Benin having surprisingly made it to the quarter-finals while Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon were all eliminated too early by their standards.
Both countries will be giving it a shot at making history, with Senegal looking to get their first Africa Cup of Nations trophy and Algeria searching for their first continental triumph in almost 30 years.
Here’s OSB’s preview on the match.
🇸🇳 Senegal Team News
Senegal’s only concern ahead of the final is goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who had to abandon his side because of a fractured hand with SPAL shot-stopper Alfred Gomis replacing him between the sticks.
Une finale de rêve entre deux géants du foot africain, quelle équipe remportera le trophée ?
— Football Together (@Football2Gether) July 16, 2019
In defence, Alou Cisse is likely to start with Gassama, Sabaly, Koulibaly and Kouyate.
The five in midfield are likely to be Sarr on the right and Liverpool man Sadio Mane on the left while Gueye, Ndiaye and Saviet will be those occupying the central positions of midfield.
Mbaye Niang will most likely start as the only striker in the attack.
Predicted lineup (4-5-1) – Gomis; Gassama, Sabaly, Koulibaly, Kouyate; Sarr, Mane, Gueye, Ndiaye, Saviet; Niang
🇩🇿 Algeria Team News
As for Algeria, they don’t seem to have any fitness concerns prior to the big match and the manager should name an unchanged lineup on Friday.
Riyad Mahrez takes Algeria to the African Cup final with a last minute free-kick goal 🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/qNGmeCnapS
— Football HQ (@FootbaII_HQ) July 14, 2019
In goal, Mbholi will probably start accompanied by a strong defensive line composed of Zeffane on the right, Benlamri on the left and Bensebaini and Mandi at the centre.
Mahrez will be the right midfielder while Belaili should start on the opposite side. The three central midfielders are likely to be Geudioura, Feghouli and Bennacer.
Bounedjah should be the one leading the attack for Algeria.
Predicted lineup (4-5-1) – Mbolhi; Zeffane, Bensebaini, Mandi, Benlamri; Mahrez, Belaili, Geudioura, Feghouli, Bennacer; Bounedjah
Senegal and Algeria have faced each other 22 times and it’s the Desert Foxes who have the superior record winning 13 and only losing four.
It's a date then…
19/7/2019 – Cairo Stadium 🏟️ pic.twitter.com/mTPHXhtjw5
— CAF (@CAF_Online) July 14, 2019
With four wins from their last five over Senegal, including the 1-0 win in the group stages, Djamel Belmadi’s side may feel the more confident of the two going into the final.
In Group C back on 27 June, the Lions of Teranga were narrowly edged out as Algeria’s Youcef Belaili scored the only goal of the game just after half-time.
While Belaili’s strike was the only one Cisse’s have conceded at the tournament this year, Senegal have never beaten Algeria at an AFCON in eight attempts.
*Odds are subject to change