Friday 19 July: 8pm KO
Live on EuroSport
The African Cup of Nations reaches its final on Friday with two countries, neither of whom have won the title this century. Senegal are the favourites but have never lifted the trophy before. They take on Algeria who were last crowned champions in 1990. For UK fans, this is Sadio Mane (Senegal) v Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) as the Liverpool v Manchester City rivalry resumes.
Senegal were among the favourites to win this title and have proved their backers right. They came into this tournament in good form having been unbeaten in nine games since their 2018 World Cup exit. Eight had been won in a row and their hopes of a first ever African Cup of Nations triumph were high.
A defeat by Cameroon in the 2002 final is the closest they have come to winning this title They lost that final on penalties after a goalless draw. You can get odds of 9/2 (5.5) at SkyBet on this game being decided by penalties. They also offer 10/1 (11.0) on Senegal winning the cup via a penalty shoot-out with the same odds for Algeria. Five of the last ten finals have ended that way.
Senegal got off to a good start in this tournament with a win over Tanzania but then their unbeaten run came to an end. They lost their second group game 1-0 and it could be a significant result as it was Algeria who beat them 1-0. BetVictor will give you 6/1 (7.0) on that scoreline being repeated in this match. The odds on them winning this match in 90 minutes are 9/5 (2.8) at Betfred.
Senegal got back in winning ways in their final group game. A 3-0 win over Kenya secured second place in the group. It also saw Sadio Mane score two of their goals. He’s 2/1 (3.0) at William Hill to score in this final. The knock-out stages began with a 1-0 win over Uganda with Mane again on target.
The Senegal side beat Benin 1-0 in the last eight. Their semi-final against Tunisia was a hard-fought affair indeed. It ended goaless after 90 minutes and it took an own goal to give Senegal a 1-0 victory. It’s 6/1 (7.0) at Sportingbet that Senegal win this match 1-0.
Algeria won their only African Cup of Nations title 29 years ago. They beat Nigeria 1-0 on that occasion and defeated those rivals in this year’s semi-finals. Algeria have failed to reach another final since that win. Their best performance since 1990 was finishing fourth nine years ago.
The Algerians came into this tournament on a strong unbeaten run. They had gone eight games unbeaten since a loss to Benin last October. Their good form continued in the group stages with three straight wins and no goals conceded, including of course the victory over Senegal.
They had an easy 3-0 win over Guinea in the last sixteen. Riyad Mahrez was one of the scorers and he’s 3/1 (4.0) at BoyleSports to score in this final. The quarter finals saw Algeria face a much tougher task. They took on Ivory Coast and after a 1-1 draw, won through to the semi-finals via a penalty shoot-out. The last four saw them defeat Nigeria 2-1 thanks to a 95th minute goal from Mahrez. That was revenge for the 1990 defeat and now they bid to win their second title. Betfair will give you 7/4 (1.75) on them winning in 90 minutes.
Algeria are unbeaten in their last five games against Senegal. Four of those games were won with the other, a 2-2 draw in the 2017 African Cup of Nations. The odds on this match ending in a draw after 90 minutes are 2/1 (3.0) at Bet365.
Senegal have defender Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for this final.
Low Scoring Game Likely
Recent African Cup of Nations finals haven’t seen a great number of goals scored in them. The 2017 final ended in a 2-1 win for Cameroon but the previous six only produced three goals. The odds of this game having under 2.5 goals scored in it are 4/9 (1.44) at Ladbrokes Three of the last seven finals ended goalless after 90 minutes. The odd on 0-0 in this final are 5/1 (6.0) at SkyBet.
Both countries have been in good form during this tournament and it should be a closely fought final. Extra time and penalties could well be needed to split them. A bet on a draw with under 2.5 goals has odds of 11/5 (3.2) at Betway