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African Nations Cup Semi-Finals: Senegal and Algeria the smart selections to triumph

African Nations Cup Semi-Finals: Senegal and Algeria the smart selections to triumph

Tournament favourites look too strong

Senegal vs Tunisia
Sunday July 14, 17:00 BST
Live on Eurosport 1

Senegal were one of our three pre-tournament tips to be crowned African champions and like fellow selections Algeria they have made it all the way to the semi-finals. The Lions of Teranga were [7.40] when we put them forward for glory and are now trading as [2.66] favourites to lift the trophy in Cairo.

If you backed Senegal when we put them up, you can cover your stakes by backing Tunisia to win this semi-final. The Eagles of Carthage are [2.3] to make it through via any of the three available methods (normal time, extra-time, penalties). It should be noted the ‘To Qualify’ market is obviously different from the ‘Match Odds’ market, the latter referring only to the result in 90 minutes.

If you didn’t follow our initial Senegal tip, it’s not too late to side with Aliou Cisse’s side. They haven’t lit up the tournament the way many expected them to – they have progressed to the semi-finals thanks to 1-0 wins over Uganda and Benin in the last-16 and quarter-finals respectively – but they have looked solid, well-organised and produced occasional flashes of quality in the final third.

It speaks volumes for how obdurate Senegal are that they’ve kept four clean sheets in five matches. The only side to have scored against them – Algeria – have been arguably the most complete in the tournament, so Tunisia will need to produce something special to find the net.

There’s reasonable scepticism over whether Tunisia are capable of producing something special. They burst into life with their 3-0 quarter-final win over Madagascar having failed to win either of their previous four matches in 90 minutes. Alain Giresse’s players will carry confidence into this game on the back of that last-eight victory but Senegal are the best side they’ve faced and this match may be a step too far for the underdogs.

Alain-Giresse-Tunisia-1280.jpg

Goals on cards at both ends

Algeria vs Nigeria
Sunday July 14, 20:00 BST
Live on Eurosport 1

We were one of the few predictors out there that boldly suggested Algeria could go all the way before the tournament began. Djamel Belmadi’s side were [14.0] when we picked them out as potential winners and they’re now [3.5] second favourites behind Senegal.

If you followed our early Algeria selection then the smart bet on this game would be to cover yourself by backing Nigeria to reach the final. You can back Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles at [2.3], ensuring you get your stakes back on Algeria with a bit of profit should Nigeria go through.

Otherwise, Algeria are the smart bet to win here. There are disadvantaged in some ways – their quarter-final versus Ivory Coast took place 24 hours after Nigeria’s 2-1 victory over South Africa, and Algeria’s players may be tired after their game went to extra-time and penalties.

Yet there’s such quality and confidence coursing through the Algeria ranks at the minute that there are signs of them being unstoppable. They’ve produced five supremely coherent, well-balanced performances, with all areas of their side working in perfect harmony. They have the individual talent to win a game like this in 90 minutes, and the potential for an injection of class from the bench should they require something different in extra-time.

At [2.6] to win in 90 minutes, Algeria are worth considering. A smarter selection may be on both teams to score, however. Algeria have netted 10 times in five games but conceded for the first time in the tournament in the last round. Nigeria have looked potent in the final third, scoring five times in their two knockout games. At an odds-against price, backing both of these talented teams to find the net in normal time is the pick.

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