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AFCON: Liverpool stars go head-to-head in final

Senegal and Egypt have qualified for Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final, setting up a fascinating clash between Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Senegal, beaten by Algeria in the 2019 final, have never been crowned African champions but they are 4/9 to lift the trophy in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, with all the action available on the Sports Live Streaming platform.

The Egyptians are the most successful team in the history of the tournament, winning it on seven occasions and claiming a hat-trick of titles between 2006 and 2010. They are 13/8 to add to that record tally this weekend and 10/3 to win in 90 minutes.

Reds aces hope for starring roles

Defences have dominated the AFCON finals but Liverpool forwards Mane and Salah will be aiming to buck that trend in Sunday's showdown.

Mane has outperformed his clubmate so far, contributing three goals and two assists during Senegal's run to the final, while Salah has scored twice and set up one goal in Egypt's six-match campaign.

Salah is 5/1 to open the scoring in the final but Mane heads the first-goalscorer market at 7/2. Ahmedou 'Bamba' Dieng has notched in two of Senegal's three knockout games and is 3/1 to score at any time, while former Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou is 7/1 to break the deadlock.

Both players are part of a fluid, free-scoring Liverpool side at club level but their international teams, especially Egypt, tend to play a more attritional brand of football. That change of style is reflected by the fact that Salah has had only six shots on target during the finals, with Mane mustering just seven.

Senegal's three group games featured only one goal and that was a 97th-minute penalty from Mane in their opening win over Zimbabwe. Goalless draws with Guinea and Malawi followed although the Lions of Teranga have hit their stride since then, beating Cape Verde 2-0, Equatorial Guinea 3-1 and Burkina Faso 3-1.

Egypt's group-stage matches were also low-scoring affairs as they recovered from an opening 1-0 defeat to Nigeria to record single-goal victories over Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

Salah scored a well-taken winner against Guinea-Bissau but he and his teammates have not made things easy for themselves at the AFCON finals, going to extra-time in all three knockout games.

Egypt needed penalties to see off the Ivory Coast in the last 16 and tournament hosts Cameroon in the semi-final, both after goalless draws in 120 minutes, and they fell behind in the eighth minute of their quarter-final against Morocco before Salah equalised shortly after half-time.

Aston Villa midfielder Trezeguet struck in the tenth minute of extra-time as the Pharaohs defeated their north African rivals and goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal was the hero in Thursday's semi-final shootout, saving two Cameroon penalties before former Tottenham man Clinton N'Jie missed the target with his effort.

Despite the presence of two of the Premier League's most feared forwards in Mane and Salah, another low-scoring contest is expected in the final and over 2.5 goals in 90 minutes can be backed at 12/5.

A 0-0 correct score in normal time, which would be a third stalemate in four knockout games for Egypt, is 4/1 and the draw is priced up at 9/5.

Fatigue fear for Pharaohs fans

Senegal are 23/20 to win Sunday's final in 90 minutes and the favourites should certainly be feeling fresher than their opponents after winning all three of their knockout matches in normal time.

Egypt, in contrast, have gone the distance in draining clashes with the Ivory Coast, Morocco and Cameroon, having less possession than their opponents in two of those three games.

Senegal have also enjoyed an extra day of rest since the semi-finals so the Pharaohs, who have scored only four goals in 630 minutes of tournament football, face a tough task in the final.

Patient approach may pay off for favourites

One bet to consider is the draw-Senegal double result at 15/4. The Lions of Teranga should be confident of creating chances against a weary Egypt defence as the game goes on and they are unlikely to panic if the contest is goalless going into the final 20 minutes of normal time.

Senegal have scored nine goals at this tournament and those strikes have come in the 97th, 63rd, 92nd, 28th, 68th, 79th, 70th, 76th and 87th minutes. They are 10/11 to score in the second half and 9/1 to win in extra-time.

Discipline could be decisive in grand finale

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz will serve a touchline ban for the final after being sent off during the tempestuous semi-final victory over Cameroon and his players will need to keep their discipline in Yaounde.

Liverpool duo Mane and Salah are the most fouled players in the tournament, winning 20 free-kicks each, and Mane endured a bruising encounter with last-16 opponents Cape Verde, who had two players shown straight red cards. Senegal are 6/1 to score a penalty in normal time and 20/1 to miss a spot-kick.

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