Africa Cup of Nations: Senegal meets Algeria in final

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July 18th, 2019

The Africa Cup of Nations will conclude Friday, when Senegal and Algeria compete for the continent's championship. Algeria is in its first final since its victory in 1990, while Senegal is in the final for the first time since 2002 but is still seeking its first AFCON championship.

Senegal vs. Algeria, 3 p.m. ET

(Senegal +175, Algeria +190, Draw +190)

Africa Cup of Nations free pick: Senegal

Senegal and Algeria will face off for the second time in this Africa Cup of Nations. Back on June 27, Algeria defeated Senegal 1-0 in Group C play, which was Senegal's only loss in the tournament. They will meet again in the final after Senegal defeated Tunisia in the semifinal round and Algeria upset Nigeria at the final whistle. Senegal hasn't defeated Algeria in their last six meetings, dating back to AFCON qualifying in 2008. But it's hard to beat a team twice in the same tournament, and Senegal is going to rely on Sadio Mané to carry them to a title. He will need help, however, and Moussa Konaté and Keita Baldé are the most likely to be able to capitalize on scoring chances for The Lions of Teranga. They're going to have to be sound on the back line, and Lamine Gassama and Kalidou Koulibaly will need to be the anchors that keep Algeria out of the box and the ball out of dangerous positions.

Algeria has won every match it has played in the Cup of Nations this year and has been led by Adam Ounas, Youcef Belaïll and the heroics of Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez's free-kick goal just before the final whistle against Nigeria is why the Desert Foxes are playing for a title, but they will need to be a lot better defensively to do it. Islam Slimani has scored 27 goals for Algeria in his career and will be relied upon to score yet again to bring a title home.

Algeria has the firepower, but Senegal is sound defensively and also has some guys who can score. It will be a close battle, but Senegal will edge Algeria to be crowned the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

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