Gabon 2017: Senegal, Egypt ahead of the pack

Senegal's players celebrate a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group B football match between Senegal and Algeria in Franceville on January 23, 2017.  KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

Senegal’s players celebrate a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group B football match between Senegal and Algeria in Franceville on January 23, 2017.<br />KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

Two teams roll out into the knock-out stage of the 31st edition of Afcon slightly ahead of the rest pack. They have both arrived as the favourites using different routes.

Senegal has been dominant and full of swag from day one. Cisse’s men have been so impressive and have played with some much cohesion up front that they could rest ten men and still hold Africa’s fourth ranked team, Algeria, to a 2-2 draw.

With a supporting cast of West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate and a gaggle young whippersnappers eager to prove their worthiness, the mercurial Sadio Mane has been both impressive for the Teranga Lions, and virtually unstoppable for each and every back four he has faced so far.

Just ask Liverpool how good he is and Klopp will point to his team’s record since the diminutive marksman packed his bag for Gabon. It has not been good.

Their clash against the other Lions, also unbeaten, namely the ‘Indomitable’ ones from neighbouring central Africa, will be a mouth-watering spectacle to behold as Hugo Broos will throw a still relatively new defence at them.

It will be a clash of wills with each team trying impose theirs on the other. Cameroon slow and methodical and trying to punish Senegal on the rebound, while the latter will pound and run and then pound and run some more and let Mane score.

After the dust has settled, and the fur has stopped flying it is expected that the Senegalese Lions will remain on top of the list of favourites, as they have been right from day one.

Egypt after the spectacular win against Nigeria to qualify for Afcon, started the tournament flat footed and heavy against Mali. Yet coach Cuper remain steadfast to his new style which is lull you to sleep, and then beat with you with a fast counter.

We saw this work perfectly when the Pharaohs clipped the Cranes wings right at the end of their game, and when Salah took advantage of a set play and breached the Black Stars wall to beat them and win their group. So just as Ghana has picked a bad time to loose steam the Egyptians have found their missing mojo.

Culled from Supersport.com

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