AFCON 2021 final: Salah, Mane ‘fight’ in Cameroon. As Senegal seeks first title
The AFCON 2021 final comes up today with Senegal and Egypt set to battle it out.
Senegal is in the final for the second time in a row and has never won the AFCON, losing the previous final in 2019 against Algeria and the 2002 one against Cameroon. On the opposite side, the Egyptians have won seven AFCON titles but haven’t been able to repeat that since 2010.
Coach Alou Cissé of Senegal and his wards beat Burkina Faso comfortably 3-1 to reach the final while Egypt struggled against the hosts Cameroon and after a 0-0 draw; they went through on penalties 3-1. It was Egypt’s third extra time and second penalty shoot-out in the tournament.
According to data analysis, Senegal has been a dominating side and their dominance on paper has translated into the pitch. The Lions of Teranga have scored a total of 9 goals (8 of them in the knock-out stage) which is much better than Egypt’s 4 goals.
Leading the attacks of both teams are Liverpool duo of Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt).
Mané’s tournament so far has been more positive than Salah’s. The Senegalese has scored 5 goals while Salah has only scored 3 goals. Both players have had their ups and downs so far in the tournament. Mané has been more decisive but his role is also more focused on finishing his team’s attacks while Salah has been in charge of creating chances more often. Both of them should be key for their nations in their quest to win the AFCON 2021 title.
Senegal will have Egyptian goalkeeper Gabaski who saved two penalties in the spot-kick shootout to contend with set in today’s final.
However, the Egyptians will be without their coach Carlos Queiroz who was sent off for remonstrating with the referee and expectedly, Salah will have to take charge on the pitch.
As a precautionary measure, all participating nations must undergo a Covid-19 supervised by Confederation of African Football (CAF), 48 hours before any game.
The Egypt squad underwent the test on Friday and they all came back negative. However, this doesn’t mean that the Pharaohs will be in full force as right back Omar Kamal was suspended for the accumulation of yellow cards.