AFCON 2019 Final: Odds, Predictions for Senegal vs. Algeria

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2019

Senegal's forward Sadio Mane drives the ball during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Semi-final football match between Senegal and Tunisia at the 30 June stadium in Cairo on July 14, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
KHALED DESOUKI/Getty Images

Senegal are the favourites to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, despite the quality of opponents Algeria.

The two teams will meet in the final on Friday, and both are loaded with quality, including Liverpool's Sadio Mane, who leads Senegal, while Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez is the key man for Algeria.

Mahrez was the hero as the Desert Warriors beat Nigeria 2-1 in the last four on Sunday. His 95th-minute free-kick proved the difference after Senegal had beaten Tunisia in extra time thanks to an own goal from Dylan Bronn.

Mane and Co. boast the stronger squad, with the Lions of Teranga having enough attacking resources to edge an exciting final.

       

Odds

  • Senegal: 8-5
  • Algeria: 23-10
  • Draw: 21-10

Odds per Oddschecker.

           

Mane and Mahrez to Get on the Scoresheet

The tournament has brought out the best in two of the most dynamic talents in the Premier League. Mahrez has been the creative fulcrum for Algeria, but the Desert Warriors were more thankful for his eye for goal once he curled in the winner against the Super Eagles.

Keeping the Man City man quiet in the final won't be easy for Senegal, despite a formidable defence. Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly is a rugged centre-back, but Mahrez can avoid him by sticking to drifting off the right flank on to his feared left foot.

Sengal will need tough midfield enforcers Idrissa Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate to tuck in and help out the full-backs. Even with extra numbers out wide, count on Mahrez finding shooting space at least once and firing Algeria in front.

Mane is a good bet to equalise thanks to a combination of pace and power few AFCON defences can handle. Unlike Mahrez, he is more direct, often producing his best work through the middle.

The 27-year-old has scored three times en route to the final, and the timing of his runs will take him past an Algeria defence guilty of a rash decision or two.

            

Senegal to Take Trophy with Late Winner

Algeria are strong, but Senegal simply have more options in the final third. Mane can count on the support of Rennes duo striker M'Baye Niang and winger Ismaila Sarr.

The latter brings the same kind of direct pace Mane possesses to the game. He's an explosive match-winner, either in the starting XI or off the bench.

Having Gueye and Kouyate breaking from the middle adds more strength and speed to an attacking unit that has contributed to eight goals in the competition.

Algeria were the last team to blank Senegal, winning 1-0 during the group stage, but the Lions of Teranga will be more efficient in front of goal in the final.

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