Algeria to take advantage of absent star
Senegal will have the chance to win their first AFCON in their history when they take on Algeria on Friday. Will Mahrez and co spoil the party or will Mane lead his nation to a historic victory? Have a read of our preview here:
Mahrez magic fires Algeria to success
No one should question the quality in the boots of Riyad Mahrez and he yet again proved just how much of a match-winner he can be. With virtually the last kick of the game, he bent home a delicious free-kick to break Nigerian hearts and take his nation to their 2nd AFCON final.
In fact, the last time Algeria got to the final they won it so perhaps, if you believe in omens, this year could be something special for the Desert Foxes.
They were excellent in the semi-finals and Mahrez led by example against Nigeria but the whole team, despite having one day fewer to rest than their opponents, still managed to show an impressive amount of energy to go on and grab the late clincher.
Taking the semi-final as a whole it is fair to say that Algeria deserved to get the win but Nigeria were almost able to take advantage in the second-half. As the legs of their opponents began to tire, the Super Eagles were able to get themselves an equaliser. Yet Algeria showed true character to find enough energy in order to prevent the extra half-hour which would have given Nigeria the advantage.
Senegal finally made it
It is pretty hard to believe that Senegal have never won the AFCON before but this is a great opportunity for the Lion of Teranga to make history.
They were far from convincing in the semi-final against Tunisia and had to rely on an own goal in extra time to get them over the line. It was an incredible game with plenty of incidents including two missed penalties and another one overturned thanks to VAR.
Kalidou Koulibaly to miss the final
Senegal will be without their star defender for the final which is a massive blow. The Napoli man was shown a very harsh booking against Tunisia yet he remained calm and collected to help his teammates fend off their late onslaught.
Sadio Mane was hardly an influence in the semi-final and Liverpool’s star appears to be feeling the effects of a long season in both Europe and domestically. He will have turn up in the final if Senegal are going to get past the formidable Algerian defence.
Senegal v Algeria betting tip
It would be good to see Senegal win their first AFCON final but with Mane seemingly jaded and Kalidou Koulibaly missing backing Algeria to win at odds of 21/10 is a fair shout.