The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final pits together two teams not used to continental success – they only have one title between them
The Lions of Teranga, who are the continent’s top team at 22nd on the FIFA Ranking, closed in on the title for the first time thanks to a narrow 1-0 success over Tunisia, with an own goal in extra-time sufficient for them to progress after their opponents had missed a late penalty in normal time.
Meanwhile, Algeria, who have lifted the trophy only once before, have been the revelation of the tournament and edged Nigeria last Sunday thanks to a dramatic late winner from Riyad Mahrez.
The sides met in the group stage, with the North Africans winning 1-0, but will there be a repeat in the showcase?
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Eurosport 2 and can be streamed via Eurosport Player UK.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Eurosport 2||Eurosport Player UK|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Ciss, Sane, Sabaly, Gassama, Wague, Cisse.|
|Midfielders||Kouyate, Gueye, N’Diaye, Saivet, Diatta, Ndiaye.|
|Forwards||Mane, Sarr, Balde, Konate, Diagne, Thioub, Niang.|
Senegal head into this decisive showdown without one of their best players in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly, who is suspended after picking up a second yellow card in three matches. Cheikhou Kouyate and Salif Sane will form the centre-back pairing as a result.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is missing with a fractured hand.
Possible Senegal starting XI: Gomis; Sabaly, Sane, Kouyate, Gassama; Gueye, Ndiaye, Saivet; Sarr, Niang, Mane.
|Goalkeepers||M’Bolhi, Doukha, Oukidja.|
|Defenders||Mandi, Helliche, Tahrat, Benlamri, Fares, Zeffane, Bensebaini.|
|Midfielders||Mahrez, Feghouli, Brahimi, Ounas, Boudaoui, Guedioura, Abeid, Bennacer.|
|Forwards||Slimani, Delort, Bounedjah, Belaili.|
Youcef Atal is out after fracturing his collarbone in the quarter-final win over Ivory Coast; a major blow to Algeria. Mehdi Zeffane should take his place once more in the starting XI.
Djamel Belmadi’s side are at full strength otherwise.
Possible Algeria starting XI: M’Bolhi; Zeffane, Mandi, Benlamri, Bensebaini; Feghouli, Guedioura, Bennacer; Mahrez, Bounedjah, Belaili
Betting & Match Odds
Senegal, Algeria and the draw are all available at +190 with bet365, highlighting how tough this game is to call. To lift the trophy, both nations are -110.
Senegal and Algeria face arguably the biggest 90 minutes in either country’s football history on Friday, when they come face to face in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final.
Aliou Cisse’s side have reached this juncture only once previously, back in 2002, but on that occasion were defeated by Cameroon, while Algeria’s sole success came in 1990 and is a distant memory, particularly amid several poor years.
The two nations, though, have deservedly picked their way past 22 rivals to make it to the final in Cairo, with Algeria winning five of their six matches in normal time, with their opponents claiming four.
Indeed, this is a repeat of a Group C clash that was won 1-0 by the North Africans back on June 27, with Youcef Belaili’s goal shortly after the break the difference between the sides.
“The group match and this one are totally different,” Djamel Belmadi, the Algeria coach, stressed. “The first game was not decisive but this is a final.
“We’re trying to prepare for the final like all our matches, focussing on this game on its own. The feelings of the players and their approach are very clear.”
Meanwhile, Belmadi highlighted the importance of Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez to the cause, with the attacker having netted three times in the competition.
“He’s the type of player who sends you to a final,” he said. “His free kick against Nigeria showed the full extent of his talent.
“He’s a boy that’s in tune with his team but wants more than ever to be a leader and he is assuming this role.
“Even if I don’t build teams around one player, a talent like Riyad is capital.”
Senegal have their own X-factor in Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, who was effectively shut down when the sides last met, but Cisse is hopeful the forward can explode in this game.
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“He could have done better but I was never worried,” the coach said. “It was a team problem first and foremost.
“He’s won the Champions League and is focused on the goal of bringing this trophy back to his country. He dreams of it. He’s one of the group’s leaders and has an impact on everyone. He’s a model for all his team-mates.”
Will it be Mahrez or Mane who is celebrating come Friday night in Cairo, though?