Senegal vs Egypt: Line-ups
Senegal’s Time to Shine
Beaten in two previous finals, the Lions of Teranga will look to clinch their first-ever title against an Egypt side who will be seeking to conquer the continent for a record-extending eighth time, and this game promises to be a nerve-racking showdown as we get to see two of Liverpool’s leading forwards in Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah lock horns for continental glory.
On the back of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Algeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final, Senegal came into this year’s edition as one of the continent’s biggest sides yet to lift the title despite multiple final appearances. The Lions of Teranga enjoyed a smooth qualification journey where they went unbeaten in Group I, claiming four wins and two draws from six games to finish top of the table with a healthy five-point lead over runners-up Guinea-Bissau.
However, Senegal had to grind out a hard-earned 1-0 victory over a resilient Zimbabwe side in their opening game on January 10, when Mane opened his account with a 97th-minute penalty. Despite failing to win their final two group games, where they were held to consecutive goalless draws by Guinea and Malawi, Aliou Cisse’s men finished top of Group B and secured a place in the knockout stages. After their somewhat unconvincing group-stage run, Senegal found their magic touch in the round of 16 as they put two past Cape Verde on January 25 courtesy of second-half goals from Mane and Ahmadou Bamba Dieng.
Egypt then turned in a performance of the highest quality in the semi-finals where they locked horns with regional rivals Morocco on January 30, as Salah scored in the 53rd minute to cancel out Sofiane Boufal’s seventh-minute penalty and force extra time, where Trezeguet came up clutch with a 100th-minute winner. The Pharaohs then stunned tournament hosts Cameroon last time out when they claimed a 3-1 victory on penalties to secure a place in the final following a goalless 120 minutes at the Paul Biya Stadium.
While Egypt have struggled to get going in attack, they owe their journey to the finals to the solid job done at the opposite end of the pitch, where they have kept four clean sheets and conceded just twice so far at the tournament. While the six-time African champions will be seeking to conquer the continent again, next up is an in-form opposing side who they have struggled against in recent meetings between the teams, losing each of their last two encounters and three of the last five since 2002.
Considering the stakes of this one, we expect a thrilling contest with both sides taking the game to each other in search of the win to clinch the continental crown. Senegal have been beaten twice at this stage of the tournament but for the first time in a long time, they have a complete squad on paper, boasting a fine crop of talent across all departments of the pitch. Egypt are the most experienced side at this level, claiming seven final victories, and going up against them could prove a tricky task for any side. However, we are are tipping the Lions of Teranga to claim the win and pick up their first continental title with a slender win over the Pharaohs