Group C is all about this match up. When the Africa Cup of Nations began, it seemed likely that this group would be dominated by these two teams. Each of their opening match ups have confirmed those predictions. Algeria handily toppled Kenya, while Senegal were victorious over Tanzania.
Making the predictions here even tougher is the fact that they both managed to do so with the exact same scoreline of 2-0 apiece. That means they are quite literally neck-and-neck and there is all to play for. Both have impressed in friendly internationals and the qualifiers heading into this match, making this one of the toughest to call in the tournament thus far.
Senegal vs Algeria Prediction: Senegal 1-0 Algeria
While very recent performances make it had to find much wiggle room in terms of performance quality, we do think Senegal have been slightly more impressive. Were it not for a draw against Madagascar, they’d have swept the qualification process undefeated, with all their other victories also coming with a clean sheet. Algeria were good but not quite that successful. They drew twice and lost to Benin during the process. They also failed to qualify for the World Cup. Therefore, based on superior form and their excellent defensive record, we’re predicting a close 1-0 win for Senegal.
Our recommended tip: Senegal win
We’ve already mentioned that both teams here have been on similar form as of late. However, the home side are the bookmakers’ favourites, owing to the fact that they’ve had more success in recent outgoings than their upcoming opponents. Just looking at the last five matches, Senegal have won all of them – and done so with a clean sheet for four. On the other hand, Algeria have done well, but have two draws and three victories in their last five games. Therefore, we recommend that you back Senegal to victory here to get low-risk 21/20 match odds from Ladbrokes.
While we stand by our prediction of a narrow Senegal victory, Algerian fans don’t need to look far back in the history books to find reasons to be confident. The away side have dominated this fixture with an overwhelming majority of victories going all the way back to 1977. Worse still for Senegal, the last time they defeated Algeria was back in 2008. They subsequently lost later that year, and twice in 2015 – once in this very tournament. Their last encounter also came at the Africa Cup of Nations, ending 2-2 apiece.
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Players to watch: Idrissa Gueye & Riyad Mahrez
Senegal: Idrissa Gueye
If you only know Idrissa Gueye from his interesting run with Everton in the Premier League, then you owe it to yourself to check him out on an international stage. It’s proof that when given a different setting, structure and motivation, some players can really shine in a much more aggressive role. He made the assist against Tanzania, and we certainly wouldn’t be shocked to see him score here.
Algeria: Riyad Mahrez
The Algerian team’s new leader Riyad Mahrez silenced his doubters in their opening match in the Africa Cup of Nations with an assured and confident performance. He’s the kind of player that is not only dangerous to his opposition on an individual level, but also helps bind the team together from a tactical and motivational point of view. So many top teams have disappointed in their opening tournament matches: Mahrez made sure Algeria was not one of them.