Match Preview: Senegal vs Tunisia

Senegal face Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals today at 18:00 (CET) in Cairo.

Favorites Senegal will be looking to reach the AFCON Final for the first time since 2002 when they meet Tunisia at the 30 June Stadium this afternoon.

They’ve qualified for the semi-finals beating Benin 1-0 in the previous round, as Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye provided the winner in the 69th minute of the game.

Tunisia eased past Madagascar with a 3-0 victory in the quarter-finals. They reached the knockout stage with three draws in Group E and eliminated one of the top 5 favorites Ghana on penalties in the Round of 16.

Team news

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who picked up an injury in the game against Alegria remains sidelined for the Lions of Teranga.

He is the only player who will miss the game for Senegal, as coach Aliou Cisse is expected to name an unchanged starting XI.

Tunisia manager Alain Giresse has a fully fit squad to select from, with winger Khazri fully recovering from a tight problem.

What did the managers say

Senegalese legendary footballer and current head coach Aliou Cisse missed the final penalty in the 2002 African Cup of Nations Final defeat against Cameroon. He is ready to create some good memories from the 2019 AFCON with his national team.

“Tunisia are very special and very strong. They possess special skills and their players are capable of creating the difference,” Cisse said at a press conference.

“However, we’re in the semi-finals for the first time since 2002 and this motivates us to win. We have improved a lot and I stand by my team.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Idrissa Gueye of Everton is closed down by Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Leicester City at Goodison Park on January 1, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Tunisia coach Giresse has admitted that Senegal has better players, but he believes his players will be ready for the big challenge.

“If the match came down to knowledge of the players that would be a good thing, but the reality is different,” he said via Goal.

“Knowledge and relationships are one thing but what happens on the pitch is the most important.”

“Senegal are a strong team and they’re different from any other team. They have Sadio Mane, whom I predicted a great future for before. But, we’ll be ready.”

Stats

Senegal have conceded only one goal at the 2019 AFCON so far, in the 1-0 defeat to Algeria in the group stage.

The Lions of Teranga have never won the Africa Cup of Nations. They’ve reached the final only once, in 2002 but lost after the penalty shootout against Cameroon.

Tunisia are still unbeaten at the competition, they have four draws and only one win after the regular 90 minutes.

Sadio Mane is one of the four top scorers at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He has scored three goals so far, including one penalty, but also missed twice from the spot.

Tunisia will be looking to qualify for their fourth AFCON Final. They’ve won the competition only once, back in 2004 on home soil.

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