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AFCON 2019


12 July 2019, by: Leonard Solms


Cairo will host two mouthwatering Africa Cup of Nations semifinal ties on Sunday. Senegal and Tunisia square off at the 30 June Stadium before Algeria face Nigeria at the Cairo International Stadium.

After a tournament full of curveballs, we are down to a final four that isn’t far off what the average punter might have predicted before Afcon started. Make no mistake, however: no team has come this far without bumps in the road.


Africa’s top two sides according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola world rankings go head to head here, but this tournament has not been plain sailing for either team.

The Lions of Teranga slipped up against Algeria in the group stage, losing 1-0. Aliou Cissé’s men have won all four of their other Africa Cup of Nations matches but have never quite looked on top of their game.

There have been moments from brilliance from Sadio Mané and co, but Senegal have by and large struggled to keep up the intensity for the full 90 minutes of each match. Group stage wins over Tanzania (2-0) and Kenya (3-0) came despite missed chances galore and narrow 1-0 wins over Uganda and Benin followed.

Senegal undoubtedly deserve to be in the semi-finals but need to hit top form now that they will once again be up against big guns. Their only match to date in this tournament against a fellow top side has been the Algeria defeat.

The Lions of Teranga appeared to only find their feet late on in that game and were beaten by the relentless Desert Foxes. However, with 10 wins from their last 11 games, Senegal should nevertheless be regarded as tournament favourites.

Don’t expect them to have it easy against a Tunisia side only now hitting form themselves. Alain Giresse led the Carthage Eagles to the quarter-finals without a single win at Afcon 2019 and they turned up the heat against Madagascar.

Ferjani Sassi, Youssef Msakni and Naïm Sliti scored for Tunisia in a 3-0 win, but they were held to draws by Angola (1-1), Mali (1-1) and Mauritania (0-0) in the group stage before beating Ghana on penalties after another 1-1 draw.

Goalkeeping has been a problem for Tunisia at Afcon 2019 with Mouez Hassen looking vulnerable at times, particularly off crosses. Should he make any errors against Senegal,  he can expect the Lions of Teranga to pounce.

Senegal are favourites at 1.10 in the regulation time winner market with a draw paying 1.95 while Tunisia can be backed at 2.55.

BET: Senegal v Tunisia

Algeria have been the strongest team at Afcon 2019 so far but need to be careful of the resurgent Super Eagles. The Desert Foxes will be confident for this match and are good value for their favourites’ tag at 1.25 to win in regulation time.

Djamel Belmadi’s men have epitomised both solidity and ruthlessness all tournament and did not concede until the quarter-final against Ivory Coast. This ultimately ended in a penalty shootout victory for the Desert Foxes following a 1-1 draw.

Previously, Algeria had triumphed over Kenya (2-0), Senegal (1-0), Tanzania (3-0) and Guinea (3-0). All the pre-tournament talk was about Riyad Mahrez, but Afcon 2019 has seen a tremendous team effort from the Desert Foxes.

Nigeria therefore cannot rely on Algerian weaknesses, but they do have their own strengths to draw from. The Super Eagles wingers made mincemeat of South Africa in the quarter-finals with Samuel Chukwueze scoring and Ahmed Musa proving too quick to contain.

Gernot Rohr’s men have stuttered through the tournament, losing 2-0 to Madagascar after 1-0 wins over Burundi and Guinea. These results were followed by wins over Cameroon (3-2) and South Africa (2-1) which showed mental strength but were not quite convincing.

The Super Eagles need to raise their game to greater heights on Sunday, but with Odion Ighalo in form upfront and plenty of top talent backing him,  Nigeria remain a threat to any defence. They are paying 2.25 in the regulation time winner market with a draw on offer at 1.90.

BET: Nigeria v Algeria

Leonard Solms is a sports journalist who features regularly on various local and international platforms including ESPN, New Frame, FARPost, Tagged Online and Careers Magazine, as well as this one. He enjoys the occasional bet and the most important tip he can give you is to bet within your means.

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