Mane, Senegal seek AFCON 2019 redemption in Kenya clash

Sadio Mane and the Teranga Lions of Senegal find themselves in a must-win situation in order to keep their ambitions of winning a first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in Egypt when they come up against Victor Wanyama and Kenya in their final Group C clash at the June 30 Stadium.

Aliou Cisse’s men opened their AFCON 2019 account with a 2-0 win over a poor Tanzania side before falling to a 1-0 against Algeria, a result which left the pre-tournament favourites one loss away from a potential shock first round exit.

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The Teranga Lions have played well so far in Egypt but have been guilty of being profligate in front of goal – Senegal had 20 shots in the win over Tanzania and nine shots on target but only managed to score two goals, while the team edged play against Algeria but fell to a goal which came as a result of a counter-attack.

That goes to show it is only being decisive in front of goal that would see Senegal get past Kenya’s Harambee Stars and book a place in the last 16 as well as go far in the tournament. UEFA Champions League winner, Mane will be key to the goals scored by the team starting with this crucial clash.

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Mane is expected to lead the lines upfront again alongside the likes of Keita Balde and M’Baye Niang as he did against Algeria’s Desert Foxes, which was his first appearance at AFCON 2019, but all his expected runnings must produce an end result for the team – goals.

Kenya will be relying on one player for a similar performance too, with Michael Olunga impressing after scoring two goals to help the Harambee Stars to a comeback 3-2 win over Tanzania.

This comes after Olunga scored two of the three goals Harambee Stars put past Taifa Stars and put themselves in contention for a last 16 place.

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Senegal and Kenya last faced each other at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations with the Teranga Lions easing to a 3-0 win over the Harambee Stars incidentally in Egypt, with the west Africans going on to lose to eventual champions Tunisia in the last eight of the competition.

Team news

Senegal will still be without key defender, Salif Sane, who twisted his ankle in the Teranga Lions’ opening group match against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars while Idrissa Gueye and Ismaila Sarr are expected to make a return to the starting line-up after being left out against Algeria.

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For the Kenyans, striker Olunga will be available in the hope of getting a positive result which would get the East Africans into the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed countries.

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Betting odds

The Teranga Lions are overwhelming favourites to claim all three points against the Harambee Stars after getting odds of just 1.48 to emerge victorious, compared to the odds of 8.50 given for what would be a shock Kenya win.

Keita Balde of Senegal celebrates his goal with teammates Moussa Waque and Idrissa Gana Gueye of Senegal during the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 Finals game between Senegal and Tanzania at 30 June Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 23 June 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Predicted line-ups

Senegal XI: Edouard Mendy (GK) – Moussa Wagué, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cheikhou Kouyate, Youssouf Sabaly – Idrissa Gueye, Keita Baldé, Krepin Diatta – Sadio Mane, M’Baye Niang, Ismaila Sarr

Senegal team picture during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Senegal and Algeria at 30 June Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 27 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Kenya XI: Patrick Matasi (GK) – David Owino, Musa Mohammed, Joseph Okumu, Aboud Omar – Victor Wanyama, Johanna Omolo – Ayub Masika, Francis Kahata, Eric Ouma – Michael Olunga

Kenya Team pictures during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Kenya and Tanzania at 30 June Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 27 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

How do you see the match going? Will the Harambee Stars cause an upset? Share your views with us in the comment section.