It doesn’t get bigger than this. Well, not on Thursday at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations anyway. The nature of this tournament, since it’s been expanded to 24 teams, means that even the smallest slip could spell disaster.
Soccer isn’t an individual sport, but it does have some individual starts and this match is packed with them. Most notably, Sadio Mane, who missed The Teranga Lions’ opening fixture against Tanzania.
Mane returns after a suspension ruled him out of the 2-0 win over Tanzania and coach Aliou Cisse says he is happy, particularly with the half-volley goal of 20-year-old Krepin Diatta.
But while supporters, the media and publicists focus on Mahrez and Mane, Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi is less happy with that situation.
“I am not in favour of highlighting individuals over teams,” said the former Manchester City midfielder. “We must put less emphasis on Riyad.”
Belmadi was much happier when recalling a winning start for
his team with Baghdad Bounedjah and Mahrez scoring in a routine 2-0 victory
“Collecting maximum points from our first match meant a lot because Algeria have a history of poor starts at the Cup of Nations.”
Prediction, head-to-head and TV stream
Senegal are favourites, but only just. Despite their dubious record against Algeria,
they have a 44% win probability. The draw is at 31% and a win for Algeria –
somewhat surprisingly, is just 25%.
Senegal’s had a rough time against Algeria. Out of 21
previous meetings, they have won just
four. Five matches were draws and Algeria havet he upper hand with 12 wins.
Where and what time to watch
Kick off is at 19:00 SAST.
In Africa, SuperSport 4 and 10 will broadcast the match and
the opening ceremony.
Elsewhere: Eurosport Player (UK) and beIN Sports Connect