Senegal will maintain its bid to become win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time when it faces Equatorial Guinea on Sunday. Can it maintain its fine form? Keep reading to get a full expert betting preview.
Senegal vs. Equatorial Guinea
Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 2:00 PM EST at Stade Omnisport Ahmadou Ahidjo
The Lions of Teranga have not conceded a goal in four games at the AFCON so far. They opened their account with a 1-0 win against Zimbabwe, courtesy of a last-gasp penalty from Liverpool forward Sadio Mané. Senegal then held Guinea to a 0-0 draw with Malawi to finish top of its group, before securing a 2-0 win against Cabo Verde in the Round of 16.
It has the best goalkeeper at the tournament, Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy, and the best central defensive pairing – Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo of PSG – so it is easy to see why Senegal has been so dominant in defense.
To make life even harder for its opponents, it has two strong holding midfielders in Idrissa Gueye of PSG and Nampalys Mendy of Leicester.
Controversy Surrounds Mané Injury
As such, Cabo Verde only managed two shots on goal during the entire game against Senegal in the Round of 16. Its cause was not helped when Patrick Andrade was sent off on 21 minutes and goalkeeper Vozinha then received a red card on 57 minutes, reducing Cabo Verde to nine men.
Senegal dominated possession, but it struggled to capitalize until Mané finally broke the deadlock on 63 minutes. Bamba Dieng wrapped up the win deep into injury time.
There was controversy, as Mané suffered a concussion at the start of the second half in that game following a collision with Vonzinha. He was treated on the pitch and allowed to continue playing. However, he collapsed after scoring and had to be taken off.
Luke Griggs, deputy chief executive of brain injury association Headway, said: “On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety. “This was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least.
“At that point, the principle of ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ should have resulted in Mané being substituted without another ball being kicked. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen.” Mané was treated in hospital after the game.
His status for the clash with Equatorial Guinea is rated as doubtful, so it could be another low-scoring affair. Villarreal’s Boulaye Dia and Alanyaspor’s Famara Diédhiou could be required to carry the load in the attack.
Equatorial Guinea is Strong in Defense
Equatorial Guinea did not exactly light the group stage up, but it has also been solid in defense. It lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast in its opener, before pulling off a surprise win 1-0 over Algeria and then beating Sierra Leone 1-0.
Most of Equatorial Guinea’s players ply their trade in Spain’s lower leagues, along with a couple of players for La Liga sides Alaves and Cadiz. Captain Emilio Nsue does not currently have a club. It has a decent team, but it lacks the quality that Senegal can call upon. It is likely to be a tight, tense clash between two disciplined, organized teams, but the Lions of Teranga should ultimately get the job done.
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to win (-185) with DraftKings
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to win to nil (-114) with Unibet
Africa Cup of Nations Pick: Senegal to win by one goal (+145) with DraftKings