- Africa Cup of Nations reaches knockout stage
- Algeria into 7-1 from 12-1
- Egypt remain favorites
With the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations now complete, tomorrow sees the start of the knockout stages with the commencement of the round of 16. Egypt and Senegal remain the top two favorites – at +300 and +450 respectively – with both having been at 4-1 prior to the tournament.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Odds
|Team||2019 Africa Cup of Nations Odds|
*Odds taken 07/04/19.
Prior to the start of the championships, Algeria were 12-1 but some impressive form has now seen them shorten to 7-1 as third-favorites. So, are they a good bet or, is it still Egypt or Senegal’s to lose? Or is there another team coming up on the rails? We’ll take a look.
Mahrez Key for Algerians
Algeria’s route to the round of 16 was near-perfect with three wins from three, and there has been much to admire in the way El Khadra have progressed through this tournament. With Man City’s Riyad Mahrez leading from the front, they opened with a comfortable 2-0 win over Kenya in Cairo – goals from Mahrez and Baghdad Bounedjah – and followed it up with a fine 1-0 win over the highly-fancied Senegalese, with Mohamed Belaïli getting the goal.
Their place in the round of 16 was secured with a comfortable 3-0 over Tanzania – goals from Islam Slimani and Adam Ounas (2) – and they now face Guinea, in Alexandria, who qualified as one of the best third-placed teams.
— YAW Wazobiafm (@yawazobiafm) July 1, 2019
On paper, this looks a good fit for the Algerians, whose form will make them confident of progression, and with a quarterfinal with the winner of Mali/Ivory Coast up next, they look well set for a semifinal clash with Egypt.
Key to their progression is keeping Mahrez and youngster Ismael Bennacer fit and healthy, both of whom are integral to the way the Algerians play. If they stay fit, they have a chance and offer value even at +700, and will certainly be whetting the appetite of those who backed them at +1200.
Salah Leading the Charge
But it’s the Egyptians who remain favorites and with good reason. They too cruised through the group stages with the minimum of fuss, winning all three games without conceding a goal in the process – wins over Zimbabwe (1-0), DR Congo (2-0) and Uganda (2-0). In the same way, the health of Mahrez and Bennacer remains crucial to Algeria’s chances, for Egypt the fitness and form of Mo Salah are central to their chances.
— Middle East Affairs (@AffairsEast) July 1, 2019
If Salah stays healthy, even +300 looks a very decent bet, especially with the added advantage of having 74,000 Egyptians roaring them on in every game. A round of 16 tie with South Africa awaits and if successfully negotiated will set up a tricky quarterfinal with either Nigeria or Cameroon.
Mané Gives Senegal a Chance
Senegal’s route to the knockout stages was less straightforward – the surprise defeat by Algeria meant they had to win their final group game against Kenya – but with Liverpool’s Sadio Mané leading their attack they do look full of goals.
Algeria’s form must give them confidence, and with a quarterfinal with the winner of Mali/Ivory Coast up next, they look well set for a semifinal clash with Egypt
Also in their favor is that they are in what looks the easier half of the draw. A round of 16 tie with Uganda is up next and should lead to a quarterfinal tie with either Morocco or Benin.
KENYA 0-3 SENEGAL
Sadio Mane and Senegal eventually see off Kenya after recovering from first half penalty miss to confirm qualification and leave the Harambe Stars waiting nervously for results tomorrow#AFCON2019 pic.twitter.com/6tsu342lmY
— Wolexis.com (@wolexis) July 1, 2019
Best of the Rest
In terms of big outsiders, the debutants from Madagascar are well worth watching. They were supposed to be there to make up the numbers but managed to win their group with two wins and a draw, and now have a winnable round of 16 with DR Congo. But at +50000 they are big outsiders and one for the optimists.
At +900, Morocco are in that small group of teams who have a genuine chance of winning it and three wins from three in their group games is evidence of good form, and they have yet to concede a goal. At 9-1 they are worth a punt.