Ahead of Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final, which are the key battles? take a look at the clash, picking out five head-to-heads; it is more than just Sadio Mane against Mohamed Salah…
Senegal, who beat Burkina Faso 3-1 on Wednesday to reach the final, have yet to win the continental title but came close in Cairo in 2019. Their road to the final proved a lot easier than Egypt, who lost their opening group game to Nigeria and drew heavy criticism from home fans for their early performances. But they have gained momentum, edging the Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout in the round of 16; Morocco 2-1 after extra time in the quarter-final and hosts Cameroon on penalties again in Thursday’s semi-final. The match is being played at Yaounde’s Olembe Stadium, where eight people were killed in a stadium crush last week and that tragedy has overshadowed the tournament in Cameroon. So where can Sunday’s final be won and lost?
The best place to start, Liverpool’s key attackers lock horns in Olembe as Senegal and Egypt seek to write their name into the history books. For Sadio Mane, AFCON has been a memorable tournament even before Sunday’s final. Mane has been, as was to be expected, the Lion of Teranga’s impact player in Cameroon and he has lived up to the billing, scoring three goals and providing two assists.
What has been important, though, is that he has been named the man of the match in four of Senegal’s six games, including in each of their three knockout stage games. He has completed more dribbles (19) than any other player at AFCON as he seeks to guide his nation to glory.