AFCON 2019: Unbeaten Algeria takes on Senegal in Africa cup finals
Hunting their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy, Senegal takes on 1990 winners Algeria in a battle for the gold medal.
After a series of tight tournament games that saw only one team score in each of Senegal’s six AFCON fixtures, with five producing under 2.5 goals, and four finishing by 1-0 scoreline, Aliou Cisse’s side will be looking to make history.
Although they have had a low scoring nature, the 2002 AFCON runners up have attracted plenty of drama, with five penalties awarded – four of them missed and two red cards across their last four games alone.
On the other hand, Algeria enters this final with an unbeaten record in the tournament, winning every match in 90 minutes except one penalty shoot-out victory in the quarter-finals.
Their quick starting displays have seen them lead at half time in five of their six AFCON fixtures – the last three by a 1-0 scoreline – albeit the only one they didn’t, was against Senegal during the group stage (0-0 at half-time).
The desert warriors have also seen an average of 2.0 total yellow cards before half time this tournament, so this a clear anticipation of early drama in this tight encounter.
Furthermore, Algeria has witnessed a penalty in their last two fixtures, and an average of 2.57 total goals being scored across the seven competitive head to heads played since the turn of the century.
Players to watch in Africa cup finals
Despite missing two penalties for Senegal, Sadio Mane remains a top contender for this year’s golden boot with three goals. Algeria’s Riyard Mahrez also has three – two came as last goal scorer.
Meanwhile, of the goals Senegal has conceded since the start of 2018, 72.73% arrived after half time.
Appropriately, Algeria has opened the scoring in nine of their previous 11 AFCON tournament fixtures – the two they didn’t were the only ones they lost during that period.
In the two sides’ last 10 encounters, Algeria has a better head to head record with five wins, Senegal has only three with the other two ending in a draw.
By John Dalton Kigozi