Preview: Senegal vs. Cape Verde

Preview: Senegal vs. Cape Verde

Senegal continue their quest to conquer the continent for the first time ever when they take on Cape Verde at the Stade Omnisports de Bafoussam in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

The Blue Sharks head into the game without a knockout-stage win in their previous two appearances at the tournament and will be desperate to end this dry spell.

While it is safe to say Senegal have not exactly lit up the Africa Cup of Nations, they have scaled through the first hurdle and made it to the knockout stages all the same.

Having enjoyed a stellar qualification campaign, where they picked up 14 points from 18 available, Aliou Cisse’s men needed a 97th-minute penalty which was clinically executed by Sadio Mane to see off Zimbabwe in their opening game on January 10.

This was followed by an uneventful goalless draw with Guinea in their second group outing two Fridays ago before finally wrapping things up in the group stages with yet another 0-0 draw with Malawi last time out.

However, with five points from three games, the Lions of Teranga secured top spot in Group B, one point above Guinea and Malawi, who finished level on four points, to secure smooth passage to the round of 16.

Senegal now head into the knockout stages as the only side to make it to multiple AFCON finals without claiming the title after losing on penalties to Cameroon back in 2022 and suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of Algeria in Egypt three years ago.

Despite their lack of sting in attack, the West Africans remain the only side yet to concede a goal at the tournament, and this has been owing to their star-studded defensive unit which included the likes of Abdou Diallo, Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Cape Verde, on the other hand, are one of the four best third-placed sides from the group stages having picked up four points from six games in Group A.

The Blue Sharks kicked off their AFCON run with a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia on January 9 courtesy of Julio Tavares’s 45th-minute strike, before crashing back down to earth four days later when they lost by the same scoreline Burkina Faso.

Cape Verde wrapped things up in the group stages last time out when they put on a resilient performance to come from behind and salvage a 1-1 draw against host nation Cameroon.

Bubista’s men come into Tuesday’s game unbeaten in all but one of their last seven games in all competitions, picking up four wins and two draws in that time.

While Cape Verde will look to maintain this fine run and end their wait for a first knockout-stage victory, standing in their way is an opposing side who have won each of the last three meetings between the teams since 2016, scoring six goals and conceding none.

Senegal Africa Cup of Nations form:
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Senegal form (all competitions):
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Cape Verde Africa Cup of Nations form:
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Cape Verde form (all competitions):
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We say: Senegal 2-0 Cape Verde
While Senegal have endured a quiet start to the tournament, they boast a star-studded squad capable of finally ending their long wait for continental glory. Looking at the gulf in quality and experience between the nations, we are tipping the Lions of Teranga to comfortably claim the win in regular time.

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