AFCON 2021 RECAP: Road To Stade Olembe, Yaounde
Finally, after 28 days of dramatic football, AFCON 2021 is set to come to an end.
Out of the 24 teams that participated, will now have our final 2, Senegal and Egypt.
But before we go into the preview of that game, let’s take a look at how they made it to the final?
This should provide a summary for those who missed any of their matches, isn’t it?
Without any further ado, let’s proceed, starting with the Teranga Lions of Senegal
AFCON 2021 Group Stage: Although termed as “one of the competition’s favorites”, Aliou Cisse’s men failed to live up to that hype in the group stage.
Placed in Group B alongside Zimbabwe, Guinea, and Malawi, many would have expected them to qualify with all 9 points.
Well, this wasn’t the case as they only managed 5 points, a 1 nil win over Zimbabwe, and goalless draws against both Guinea and Malawi.
The only positive from their ground stage adventure was the 3 clean sheets they kept.
I bet you were as disappointed as I was, weren’t you?
Knockout Stages: There was still no improvement in the performance of the Teranga Lions when they faced off against Cape Verde in the Round of 16.
They were only fortunate to manage a 2 nil win after their opponents were reduced to 10 men.
However, after the above game against Cape Verde, the Senegal we all anticipated came alive.
Taking on competition “dark horses”, Equatorial Guinea, in their Quarterfinal fixture, Aliou Cisse’s men brushed them aside easily with a comfortable 3:1 victory.
Their Semifinal fixture against Burkina Faso was no different either as they easily dispatched the Stallions by the same scoreline.
You can say that again, that was the performance we expected from them at the beginning of the competition.
Moving on to their opponent, the Pharaohs of Egypt.
AFCON 2021 Group Stage: Paired in Group D with Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan, many expected Egypt to progress easily.
Well, with a top-rated player in Mohammed Salah, we couldn’t expect less.
However, a surprise 1 nil loss to Nigeria, who were also “tournament favorites”, in their first game made things a bit difficult for them.
Carlos Queiroz’s men had to take the fight to both Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, claiming all 6 points and securing their progress into the next round.
Both wins were 1 nil of course.
Knockout Stages: Things got complicated for Carlos Queiroz’s as they had to take on Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Cameroon in the Round of 16, Quarter Final, and Semifinal respectively.
Really, one could tell how difficult each of these games was as they all extended beyond the normal duration of play with games against Ivory Coast and host nation, Cameroon, going further into kicks from the penalty spot.
However, they came out victorious at the end and they will have their outstanding Goal Keeper to thank.
Saving kicks from the penalty spot and playing through with injury, Mohamed Abougabal was definitely a beast.
Both teams have definitely proved deserving of being in the final with Senegal still unbeaten in this tournament.
We should get an entertaining game with many hoping to see a Mane vs Salah showdown as well.
What do you think about both teams? What other aspects of the competition will you like to share?
Please, feel free to let us know about the above using our comment section.