Senegal will maintain its bid to conquer Africa for the first time when it faces Cape Verde in a Round of 16 clash on Tuesday. Can a strong defense power it to victory? Read on for our betting preview for this game.
Senegal vs. Cape Verde
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 – 11:00 AM EST at Kouekong Stadium
Senegal finished top of Group B with a win and two draws. The Lions of Teranga needed a 98th-minute penalty from Liverpool forward Sadio Mané to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opener at the Africa Cup of Nations.
They followed it up with a 0-0 draw against Guinea and then a 0-0 draw with Malawi, which saw them finish narrowly ahead of their rivals in a tight group.
A defense led by Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo of PSG has been rock solid, and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is yet to concede a goal at the tournament.
That bodes well for Senegal’s chances of lifting the trophy. It is the second favorite to do so, narrowly behind host nation Cameroon in the betting.
However, Senegal’s forwards need to sharpen their finishing skills if the team is to triumph.
Cape Verde Clinches a Berth in the Knockout Stage
Cape Verde finished third in Group A. Their campaign began with a 1-0 win against Ethiopia after Julio Tavares fired in a free-kick.
The Blue Sharks then lost 1-0 to Burkina Faso, leaving their hopes of reaching the knockout stage on a knife-edge. Yet they managed to come from behind and rescue a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in their final group stage game.
That was enough to earn Cape Verde a place in the knockout stage of the competition as one of the third-placed teams with the best records.
A Gulf in Quality
Senegal is the top African team in the FIFA world rankings. It is currently 20th, which leaves it sandwiched between Wales and Iran, and ahead of talented teams like Serbia, Chile, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Cape Verde is ranked 73rd overall and 14th out of the African teams. It is a 100/1 (+10000) outsider in the futures betting odds to win this tournament. None of its players ply their trade in Europe’s top five leagues.
The Senegal team is packed full of recognizable names. The defensive pairing of Diallo and Koulibaly is rock solid, while Mendy is a world-class goalkeeper. Bayern Munich’s Bouna Sarr provided added steel at the back.
PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye and Nampalys Mendy of Leicester provide a strong screen for the defense, allowing Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyaté to support Mané, Strasbourg striker Habib Diallo and Villarreal’s Boulaye Dia in attack Kouyaté is suspended for this game, but Cagliari’s Keita Baldé could fill in. The likes of AC Milan’s Fodé Ballo-Touré provide further depth.
Cape Verde is a chain of islands off the coast of Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean, with a population of 556,000. Senegal’s population is 17 million, so it is easy to see why it has yielded many more famous stars. It does not currently have any injury concerns.
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to Win (-160) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to Win to Nil (+105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to Win and Under 3.5 goals (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook