Senegal vs Egypt
Sun, 19:00 GMT
Live on BBC Three and Sky Sports
Senegal should be too strong
Senegal were pre-tournament favourites so it’s no surprise to see them short odds to win the African Nations Cup as they prepare to face Egypt on Sunday evening.
The Lions of Teranga are 1.68/13 to lift the trophy and 2.265/4 to win in 90 minutes. In contrast, Egypt are 2.6413/8 to lift the trophy and 4.47/2 to win in 90 minutes. The Draw after 90 minutes is 3.02/1.
It’s difficult to argue with those prices given the way the two sides have progressed to the final, and the form Senegal have shown in the knockout phase in particular.
After keeping clean sheets in each of their four opening matches, Senegal then adopted a more open, attacking style to secure 3-1 triumphs over Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
Egypt’s progress has been less impressive. The Pharaohs lost one of their three group games – vs Nigeria – and then needed extra-time or penalties or both in each of their three knockout phase fixtures.
Senegal’s W4-D2-L0 record (goal difference +7) is much better than Egypt’s W2-D3-L1 (goal difference +1) so the only sensible bet on the Match Odds and Winner markets would be to back Senegal.
Low goals the sensible play
Looking at other markets, the main question is whether Senegal will maintain the high-scoring form that carried them into the final in their last two games, or revert to the more defensive style that they employed in the earlier stages of the tournament.
With so much at stake, we may see a more cautious approach from Senegal. This generation of players are within touching distance of the prize and may find it hard to relax.
Historically, this is a low-scoring final: seven of the last eight African Nations Cup finals have featured either no goals or one goal in 90 minutes.
Egypt have been involved in four of the last eight finals, and on each occasion the game had no goals or one goal. This time around we expect Egypt to employ defensive, spoiling tactics, as such an approach has played a large part in them coming this far.
For all these reasons, our main selection on the game is to back low goals. Under 2.0 on the Goal Lines market is available at around 1.75/7 and that’s our pick.
The tournament stats are on your side. Of the 50 games played so far, 25 have had no goals or one goal, 11 have had exactly two goals and 14 have had three goals or more (all 90 minutes only).
A lot of Premier League watchers were hoping we’d end up with a Sadio Mane vs Mo Salah final – and that’s exactly what we’ve got.
Liverpool supporters may be torn over who they want to win but for everyone else it will be sheer joy to see two of the Premier League’s world-class stars go head-to-head.
Both players have been in fine form at the finals. Mane has scored three of Senegal’s nine goals to carry his side to the final, while Salah has netted twice for Egypt.