Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: AFCON 2021: Senegal vs Egypt Final Preview

AFCON 2021: Senegal vs Egypt Final Preview

The Cameroon AFCON 2021 is upon us. The Paul Biya Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon will host the 33rd final to crown Africa’s best football nation. The tournament has had everything you would expect in a continental event; controversy, beautiful goals, red cards, comebacks, media outrages, underdog stories, and much, much more.

Now, it is time to find out if it will be West Africa or East Africa, the highest-ranked African nation without continental glory or the most successful African nation, or will it be, Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah? Will Senegal take their long-awaited glory on the African continent, or will Egypt add yet another star to their jersey?

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Africa Cup of Nations: Final
Sunday 6 February
Paul Biya Stadium
21:00

To Win (90 minutes)
Senegal 12/10
Draw 31/20
Egypt 26/10

To Qualify
Senegal 9/20
Egypt 15/10

Senegal

After being scrutinized in the group stages, Senegal has really proved the doubters wrong. On paper, they looked to take the tournament by storm, only for the opening three fixtures to be rather lacklustre, performance-wise. The Lions of Teranga obviously had a game plan, and keeping their cards close to their chest it has worked out perfectly.

Senegal progressed through the qualification for AFCON as expected claiming four wins and two draws but almost failed to show up in the group stages. Sadio Mane had to score a 97th-minute penalty to grant the tournament favourites a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in the opening fixture, followed by two goalless draws with Guinea and Malawi. Alou Cisse’s team finished top of the group despite scoring just one goal and earning five points, the lowest tally of any first placed qualifying nations.

The team finally found their golden touch in the knockout stages slowly integrating the ‘big players’. They put two past Cape Verde and three past Equatorial Guinea to progress within 90 minutes in both their round of 16 and quarter-final respectively.

With confidence finally overflowing, the nerves dissipated and the quality of players finally taking centre stage under Cisse’s master plan Senegal were able to dispatch of their semi-final opponent, Burkina Faso, by another three goals to one.

Losses in two previous finals for Senegal will have the nation hoping the saying ‘third times the charm’ is truer than ever. With the quality, grit, and wits, the Lions of Teranga should be uber-confident.

Egypt

Just like their current opponents, the most successful nation on the continent was heavily under fire with so much expectation riding on their shoulders, especially their Egyptian ‘king’, Mohamed Salah. The Pharaohs are in search of their seventh AFCON title, with their last coming in 2010 when they defeated Ghana.

Carlos Quieroz’s side ran through their opponents in qualifying just as Senegal did, unbeaten tallying up 12 points from the six games played.

Egypt started their run on the backfoot, losing by 1-0 to Nigeria in their opening fixture. With their biggest opponents in name defeating them, the pressure was on, but two hard-earned one-nil victories Guinea-Bissau and Sudan were enough to see the trophy rich North African’s progress from Group D.

The knockout stages were where Egypt really came alive. A win over all the so-called ‘big nations’ is a testament to their deservedness in a final spot defeating Ivory Coast via penalties, Morocco after Trezeguet scored a 100th-minute winner, and tournament hosts Cameroon in another penalty shootout.

While Senegal has a fully fit squad, the Egyptians cannot say the same. Al Ahly midfielder Akram Tawfik remains out after sustaining an injury in their opening clash with Nigeria, Ahmed Hegazi is a major doubt after picking up an injury in the win over Morocco as well as first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

The hope of a nation rests on the shoulders of Salah. Yes, it takes a team to get the job done, but this one man is a special footballer, and his success means the teams success, which will result in the Egyptians hopes of lifting their seventh AFCON trophy.

Prediction: Senegal win (12/10)

It has been a long and gruelling tournament for both teams. Either side peaked at just the right moment, and both have had their fair share of challenges throughout. Either side has the quality in attack, midfield, and defence and all working together under great tutelage. One deciding factor will have to be all three of Egypt’s knockout stage fixtures heading to extra time with the nation playing a full 90 minutes extra. While both teams are almost, just almost evenly matched, the Lions of Tengara can be patient through maintaining pressure and being decisive when the moment arrives.

Written by Joshua Gaillard