The Round of 16 draws plenty of excitement to the 2019 AFCON with Uganda and Senegal going toe-to-toe this Friday. The match will be played at the Cairo International Stadium, a ground where Uganda have played all of their matches so far. Still, Senegal will fancy their chances despite finishing second in Group C behind Algeria as they boast arguably the best team on paper in the tournament.
The Cranes are certainly not in the Round of 16 by luck. Sebastien Desabre, who took over Milutin Sredojevic in 2017, has formed a formidable team with Uganda, who have very little weak points about their game.
Uganda were rock-solid and impressive in their opening game against the Democratic Republic of Congo. They managed the game well and didn’t let their opponents have a sniff at goal. But perhaps the true test was about to follow when they played against Zimbabwe, and even further, Egypt.
The Cranes suffered their first setback against the Zimbabweans, drawing 1-1 and were on the back foot for most of the game, which may have dented their confidence building up to the matchup against the hosts, where they were easily beaten 2-0.
They were run over in midfield, which Uganda will be looking to avoid again. Sadly, most of their firepower lies in defence in Godfrey Walusimbi and goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, while Emmanuel Okwi, who has been linked with a move to Kaizer Chiefs, is their only go-to man up front.
Senegal will be strongly fancied when they come up against Uganda this Friday. Unfortunately for the West Africans, they’ll be playing at the Cairo International Stadium where the Ugandans have played all three of their matches thus far.
The Lions of Teranga comfortably beat Tanzania 2-0 in their opening tie, a game which star forward and UEFA Champions League winner, Sadio Mane, missed through suspension. The ultimate test for Senegal came against Algeria where they fell to a 1-0 defeat, but many would argue that they were denied more than that due to some unfair refereeing decisions.
Matchday three then came for Aliou Cisse’s men, who cruised past Kenya, winning 3-0, a game in which Mane could have had a hat-trick, had the 27-year-old not missed his first penalty kick.
After winning the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and getting the Golden Boot in England, winning the AFCON tournament would certainly make Mane a favourite for the Ballon d’Or accolade after having his best season to date.
More heroic performances with the national team and Mane can certainly make a case for his name to be mentioned amongst the world’s best players.
Onyango; Wadada, Awanyi, Wasswa, Walusimbi; Miya, Aucho, Azira, Kyambadde; Abdu, Okwi.
Gomis; Wague, Kouyate, Koulibaly, Ciss; N’Diaye, Gueye; Sarr, Balde, Mane; Niang.
Prediction: Senegal (13/20)
It will definitely be a cagey affair between both sides and a tie that will be fun to watch for any neutral, but in terms of picking a winner, Senegal should manage their way past Uganda, who have showed glimpses of what they’re capable of in Egypt. At 13/20, Senegal are well-priced to win the match, but for more value, take them to Win to Nil at 11/10!
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