The African Cup of Nation 2019 is nearing the end with two West African teams and two North African teams battling it out in the semi-finals slated for Sunday.
Senegal will face Tunisia in a clash of the titans as both teams have had a fair run in the tournament so far and will be keen on penning down history in Africa’s most important tournament.
Senegal have made the most appearance in the tournament but are yet to lift the AFCON trophy. They will use this once in a lifetime opportunity to bring glory to their nation.
Senegal moved to within 90 minutes of just a second Africa Cup of Nations final appearance after they held off Benin’s challenge and will have their sights firmly set on bringing down the resilient Eagles of Carthage.
Everton’s Isrissa Gueye will be on target as his 69th-minute goal separated the teams and another strong defensive display saw the Senegalese keep another clean sheet meaning they have only conceded one goal from their five games so far; against Algeria.
M’baye Niang is a doubt after he suffered an injury in the quarter-final victory over Benin while Salif Sane has recovered fully from an ankle injury, but Aliou Cissé is expected to stick with the centre-back partnership of Kalidou Koulibaly and Cheikhou Kouyate. Krepin Diatta impressed as a substitute against the Squirrels and could be rewarded with a start on Sunday.
But coach Aliou Cisse has been constantly chopping and changing his side throughout the tournament. it is difficult to predict who he will field this time around but he has plenty of options at his disposal.
Tunisia are not new to this tournament. They have enough experience to go through and lift the trophy. They have won it once in 2004 when they hosted the competition and will be keen to add more into their basket.
They came to the party at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as they won their first game in 90 minutes following drawing all of their previous contests as they swept aside Madagascar 3-0 to progress to the last four.
After a torrid time in the first half, the Eagles of Carthage came back strong in the second half, thanks to Ferjani Sassi, Youssef Msakni and Naim Sliti, who each scored a goal to stun debutants Madagascar.
This is also their first semi-finals since 2004 and they will bank on their mainstay Wahbi Khazri to perform his magic again as he did in the match against the Berea in the quarter-finals.
Tunisia manager Alain Giresse may not need to make changes to the team that comfortably thrashed Madagascar 3-0 in the last eight.
Senegal have won three consecutive matches after being beaten by Algeria in their second group game of the tournament. Algeria won their first match against Madagascar after drawing all their matches in the tournament.
The Lions of Teranga edged the Eagles of Carthage in their recent encounter in 2017, and this was the only match that the North African team lost in the hands of Senegal in their last six meetings; they have won twice and drawn thrice.
Regarding Senegal’s lethal attack and their compact defense, my bet would be for them to carry the day.
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