We are down to the last four nations at the 32nd edition of the Total Africa Cup of Nations. Three of the four semi-finalists (Senegal, Tunisia and Nigeria) are the top ranked teams in Africa – a testament that the best are the ones competing in this West Africa versus North Africa battle for places in next Friday final. The Terranga Lions are in the hunt for glory while the Carthage Eagles are reviving a 15-year dream. The Fennecs have turned the table from being outsiders to favorites and the Super Eagles – one of teams with most appearances in the history of Africa Cup of Nations want to rewrite history six years after their last triumph and participation. These four countries and their fans have earned the right to dream.
Here is our preview of the semifinals.
SENEGAL v TUNISIA – SUN. 14 JULY 2019, 17.00HRS
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The Terranga Lions are through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2006 while the Carthage Eagles are in the last four for the first time in 15 years. Senegal’s defense led by Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has kept four clean sheets in five matches in the tournament so far and that has been the foundation of Aliou Cisse’s team. Alain Giresse’s men were disappointing in group stages managing three draws and required the luck of penalty shootout against Ghana to secure a quarter final birth. They eventually produced a worthy performance dominating from start to finish against Madagascar and have to face one of the continent’s strongest team for a place in the final. Make no mistake; this is the toughest game both teams will play in the tournament.
VERDICT – In five AFCON meetings, the results have been 1W 3D 1L for both countries respectively. Senegal have won four of their five matches in the tournament while Tunisia have a single victory but they are unbeaten in the competition. The tactical battle on the sidelines would be central in this game, Giresse might edge that but the Lions have depth in quality. An interesting battle awaits us at 30 June Stadium in Cairo where we could see a low scoring game. Under 2.5 goals
ALGERIA v NIGERIA – SUN. 14 JULY 2019, 20.00HRS
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A place in the final is at stake when the Dessert foxes take on the Super Eagles at the Cairo International Stadium. Algeria have been one of the standout teams in the tournament having started as underdogs but now face the might of this powerful Nigeria team that has shown resilience and strong mental ability coupled with pace, technique and strength in its game. Algeria will be playing their first semi-finals since 2010 while Nigeria are in the last four for the first time since 2013. Djamel Belmadi has transformed the Fennecs into a strong unit that is excelling with very positive results (best attack with 10 goals scored and best defense for conceding only one goal). On the other side, Gernot Rohr’s team has built momentum as they have progressed in the tournament and look to be hitting their best just at the right time. Who will win this battle?
VERDICT – Algeria and Nigeria have faced each other eight times at AFCON including two finals and one semi-final battle. Algeria have the slight edge four wins to Nigeria’s three. However, the Fennecs last victory at AFCON against the Super Eagles dates back to 1990. The Algerians are unbeaten in their campaign so far while their opposite number has tasted defeat once. There is quality on both sides, Algeria have an advantage having played and beaten a West African team – Senegal earlier in the tournament. However, playing 120 minutes in the quarter final a day after Nigeria’s game means physical exertion could play a part in the latter stages of the match. With the firepower both teams have, we expect an exciting contest with goals. Both Teams to Score is your best tip for this cracker.
It is a wrap on our preview for the Semi-final matches of the Total 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. A place in the final is on the cards for the winners; keep playing, keep winning…. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in Africa’s biggest football showpiece.