🏆2019 AFCON: 🇸🇳Mane's Senegal vs 🇩🇿Mahrez's Algeria: Who will take the honours?
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🏆2019 AFCON: 🇸🇳Mane's Senegal vs 🇩🇿Mahrez's Algeria: Who will take the honours?
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🏆2019 AFCON: 🇸🇳Mane's Senegal vs 🇩🇿Mahrez's Algeria: Who will take the honours?

​The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations kickstarted with much-anticipated excitement in Egypt where it was perfectly set up for Liverpool's Mohamed Salah to lead his native to the coveted title on home soil.

However, as per football, things have taken a dramatic turn and we see Algeria's Riyad Mahrez and Senegal's Sadio Mane take the centre stage.

This will be the second time the African sides have met in the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria having beat Senegal 1-0 in the group stages respectively.

Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix


Senegal 🇸🇳 🦁 

Both teams were placed in Group C with Algeria claiming the top of the table while the Lions of Teranga finished as runners-up. Senegal dominated the play, but the Desert Warriors proved to be the difference when they nicked the 1-0 victory.

The Round of 16 saw Senegal take on Uganda with Sadio Mane found the back of the net in the 15th minute to give his team the necessary win. Their quarterfinal clash against Benin produced another polished 1-0 victory for the Lions of Teranga before edging Tunisia 1-0 after extra time in the semifinals.

Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The West Africans will have to put their best-attacking players if they are to see success at the final whistle. Idrissa Gueye has been tipped to be Senegal's threat despite Sadio Mane having three goals to his name so far. The latter is direct, quick and is full of energy which is important for this kind of fixture. Gueye, however, is combative and is a box to box player who can break up play - a complete midfielder. 

Saliou Ciss is the oldest player in the squad and Krepin Diatta, the youngest at the age of 20 respectively.

Guy Suffo/BackpagePix


Algeria 🇩🇿 🌵 

Algeria have been an exciting team in their build-up to the final having dominated the group stages as they remained unbeaten in three games, scoring six goals without conceding. The fine form continued when the Desert Warriors humbled Guinea in a 3-0 victory in the Round of 16.

They made their way through to quarterfinals having played to a 1-1 draw to Ivory Coast but managed a narrow 4-3 victory after a penalty shoot-out. The semifinal was rather edgy with Riyad Mahrez stepping to the plate when he scored a screamer from a 20-yard free-kick that sent his native to the final.

Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Algeria are poised to be a much bigger threat than their opponents as they boast a plethora of quality in attack. The North Africans can take pride in their midfield as well which is boosted by youth and extensive experience. Apart from Mahrez who has been the creative core for his team - Sofiane Feghouli, Adam Ounas, and Youcef Belaili are the key players who can prove to make the difference and produce world-class performances respectively. The Desert Warriors are a team that manages to play as a unit which will work as a positive going into this fixture.

Empoli's Ismaël Bennacer is another player to look out for going into the final. The 21-year-old who was previously voted as the best player of the group stages is an exciting player and can dominate the midfield which could prove to be a pain for Senegal. Bennacer has also proven his maturity throughout the tournament - a talented ballplayer. 

Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Going into this game Algeria have 33-year-old Adlene Guedioura as their oldest player while 19-year-old Hicham Bouidaou who is based in Algeria as their youngest. 

Will Aliou Cisse's Lions of Teranga be hospitable in their quest to victory or will Djamel Belmadi's Desert Warriors dry their opponents out.

It all takes place at Cairo International Stadium on Friday, July 19.

Read more: CAF make U-turn on AFCON 2019 final referee - SA's Gomes out