Riyad Mahrez v Sadio Mane
Algeria won by a 2-1 scoreline over Nigeria to secure their place in Friday’s final. Riyad Mahrez scored a superb free-kick late in the contest after the Nigerians had drawn level in regular time. The Manchester City play-maker will be the one to watch for the Algerians following his impressive showing against Nigeria. His combination play with the other attackers Youcef Belaili and Baghdad Bounedjah has been incredible as they have demolished stubborn defences to get here. It is worth noting that he is one of the contenders for the Golden Boot award after scoring three goals so far.
Sadio Mane has been and continues to be the biggest threat for Senegal upfront but he is currently on a two-match goal drought. That notwithstanding, he is in the running for the Golden Boot award after scoring three goals too. The Liverpool forward is set to start in attack alongside M'Baye Niang, who is still seeking his first goal at this AFCON.
Aliou Cissé v Djamel Belmadi
The final of this edition of AFCON is a locally brewed match with two local coaches set to take on each other. Aliou Cisse is a former player for the Senegal national team and he has managed to get his team to the final after a very long time. All this has been done with the hopes of upsetting the odds to lift the trophy for the very first time in history. The players seem united under his leadership and it will be very interesting to watch how they turn up here.
Djamel Belmadi is equally a former player with the Algerian national team. Unlike his compatriot who has had four years, he has only been with the team for one year and already they are making headlines for the right reasons. The talent at his disposal is not in question and he knows that they have been the most impressive team in the competition. With the proper focus, they could emerge as champions.
Senegal's ambition v Algeria’s thirst for glory
Senegal have been known as an African footballing giant but they have never won the AFCON trophy. Cisse’s men know that they have a herculean task ahead of them as they try to write a new history for their country. Despite having many talented players in the past, all those teams have failed to live up to expectations and they will not want to let this opportunity to go unutilized.
Algeria for their part are former champions although that came some 29 years ago in 1990 when they lifted the trophy. They have not made it to an AFCON final in 17 years and this is a perfect opportunity for them to remind everyone how good they are. They have been the most consistent team so far and they will be hoping to ride on that now.