• Analysis

2019 AFCON Final: Senegal vs Algeria – Preview

AFCON Final - Cameroon v Egypt
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Senegal and Algeria square off in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Final at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.

The 2019 AFCON has come to its end, with Senegal and Algeria going head to head in the big final at 21:00 (CET) on Friday night.

Senegal booked their place in the final beating Tunisia 1-0 in the semi-finals last Sunday. Both sides missed a penalty in the last 15 minutes of the regular time, while Dylan Bronn’s own goal 10 minutes into the extra-time turned out the decisive moment of the game.

Riyad Mahrez was Algeria’s hero in their semi-final encounter with Nigeria, netting a last-gasp free-kick winner to send the Fennecs into their first Africa Cup of Nations Final in 29 years.

Team news

Reims goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who suffered a fractured hand earlier in the tournament in the only injury concern for Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.

However, Alfred Gomis has been excellent replacement between the sticks and was named the Man of the Match in the semi-final encounter against Tunisia.

Djamel Belmadi does not have any injuries nor suspensions before the game, which means he is able to name the same starting line up in the 2019 AFCON Final.

What did the managers say

Former Senegal captain Aliou Cisse says this generation is better than his, which reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup and the AFCON Final back in 2002.

“I feel very proud,” Cisse said via the CAF official website. “We haven’t reached the final since 17 years. This is the fruit of a long-time preparation. Those players worked hard for five full years and now we get the fruit of this hard work.

“Football is always charming. At a moment you think you lost control over the game and fate will do it all. Against Tunisia, it was like that. This is a game for history.

“I have unlimited trust in my players and I felt they want to achieve something. They did all that is needed to win. This generation is better than the 2002 one. My players told me they will be better than us, and they did.”

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi said he cannot promise Africa Cup of Nations glory to the country, because he is not a magician.

“I’m neither a magician nor a pessimist,” he said via Goal. “I promised Algerians that I will give everything to make them happy, but I cannot promise them to win the title because that’s not in my hands.

“The finals are won, not played. We are here now and all that we want is the Cup but we are facing an opponent who always wants to win the Cup.

“So it’s going to be a very tough game. Now we will have some rest and then we will start preparing.”

Stats

Senegal will be looking to win their first title in the competition, having lost on penalties to Cameroon in the only final they’ve played so far, back in 2002.

Their head coach Aliou Cisse missed the decisive penalty in the shootout. He has a historic chance to clear his name and finally win the AFCON for the Lions of Teranga.

Algeria have won the competition once – on home soil in 1990, beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final.

They’ve reached the AFCON decider for the first time since then, looking to be crowned African champions for the second time in history.

Both sides already faced each other in the group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with Alegria winning 1-0 thanks to Youcef Belaili’s strike at the start of the second half.

Senegal’s last victory over the Fennecs dates back to 2008, winning with the same result in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

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