Uganda and Senegal meet in the round of 16 in the African Cup of Nations, kicking off on Friday at 9:00pm local time in Cairo, Egypt. Both sides were runners-up in their group having lost one match apiece. Which team will go on to reach the quarter finals?
Uganda once reached the final of the African Cup of Nations back in 1978, but lost that match to Ghana, and little did the nation know that their time on the big stage in Africa won’t be coming back any time soon. In the past forty years, they have struggled to qualify for these championships, with their only appearance in 2017, where they were eliminated in the group stage having not won a game. For this year, there is a new sense of optimism, thanks to their form coming into the tournament, but most importantly, their 2-0 win over DR Congo in their opening game.
That win was over 40 years in the making, and following that, they achieved one point against Zimbabwe to guarantee them a knock-out round match against one of the favourites, Senegal. Emmanuel Okwi, who plays his trade in Denmark, has scored two goals in their three matches, and he looks to impose himself against one of the best defences in Africa. Can Uganda provide a huge upset here?
Senegal were 2nd favourites to win this tournament before a ball had been kicked, and it still remains that way despite finishing runners-up in their group. They managed to get two comfortable wins expectedly against Kenya and Tanzania, but in the most difficult match in their group, they were beaten by dark horses Algeria. That defeat would be a huge wake-up call to this Senegal team who have a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver their first ever African Cup of Nations trophy.
In their most recent match, we saw the best and worst of star man Sadio Mane, who scored two goals in the game, despite missing a penalty in the early stages. The performance was resolute, as they dominated the chances and possession, and will hope to take this form into the crunch matches that start on Friday. Can they overcome Uganda and book themselves a place in the quarter finals?[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Head to Head
Uganda and Senegal have only met five times in their history, with the former yet to win a match. All of their meetings have come in the last 18 years, with their first encounter ending in a 1-1 draw in Uganda for an African Cup of Nations qualifier. They would then meet just two months later in the return fixture which saw Senegal win 3-0. Fast forward another 11 years before their next two meetings, this time it was the qualifiers for the World Cup 2014, with the first game again ending in a 1-1 draw in Uganda, before Senegal would win their home tie 1-0. Their most recent meeting was a friendly back in 2017, which ended goal-less. Senegal haven’t beaten Uganda outside of their home country, whereas Uganda just haven’t won this fixture anywhere. Something will have to give in Egypt.
My Predictions and Betting Tips
Uganda are at 6/1 to win the match, with Senegal stone cold favourites at 3/5. For the sides to draw, that is at 21/10. To qualify outright, Senegal are at 1/5 with Uganda at 10/3. For me, it seems too farfetched for minnows Uganda to knock out Senegal at this early stage, so I will go for the Senegalese to progress relatively comfortably here.
I would tip a 2-0 win, priced at 9/2. In regards to goal scorers, Sadio Mane bagged a brace in his last match, and he is at 17/2 to repeat that feat. Elsewhere, it may also be worth backing Ismaila Sarr to score in the game at any time at 12/5. To boost odds on a Senegal win, you can back them to win both halves (10/3), or to score 4+ goals at 14/1.
Finally, for the tipsters, the money can be won if you back Uganda in any capacity, so do consider backing them to be leading at half time at 7/1, or for them to score 2+ goals at 10/1.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]