Players of Senegal celebrate the 2-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group H preliminary round soccer match between Japan and Senegal in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 24 June 2018.EPA/Atef Safadi
Thursday Mar 21, 2019. 09:13
Senegal and Madagascar will close out their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaigns when they meet in a Group A match in Thies on Saturday, 23 March, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.
Both teams have already secured a place at the finals in Egypt later this year, with Senegal set to make their 15th showing at the tournament, while Madagascar will be debutants.
The Teranga Lions top the group with a haul of 13 points from a possible 15 and will be hoping Sadio Mane brings with him the brilliant form he had shown for Liverpool in recent weeks.
"Every country has its star, our star is Sadio Mane," said coach Aliou Cisse, who recently earned a contract extension with Senegal’s football association.
Barea are placed second on the standings with 10 points from their five matches and have made major strides under the tenure of coach Nicholas Dupuis, who also works with small French club Fleury.
The island side suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to Sudan in their last qualifier and Dupuis will be looking for an improved showing – albeit against one of the continent’s top teams – as they build towards their maiden AFCON.
Madagascar held Senegal to a 2-2 draw when the teams met in a Group A match in Antananarivo back in September 2018.
The visitors twice led through goals from Moussa Konate and Keita Balde, while the hosts’ equalisers came from Paulin Voavy and an own goal from Kalidou Koulibaly.
Tunisian referee Youssef Essrayri will take charge of the match in Thies on Saturday.