Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez to clash in Africa Cup of Nations final
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Last Updated: 20/07/19 7:45am
The hopes of two nations will be firmly on the shoulders of Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez as Senegal and Algeria battle it out in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
The Premier League stars have helped fire their teams into Friday's showpiece match in Cairo (kick-off 8pm BST) adding to the successful seasons with their respective clubs.
Mane won the Champions League with Liverpool, while Algeria captain Mahrez was part of a Manchester City side who completed the first men's domestic treble in England.
The two have been evenly matched throughout the competition too. Both have scored three goals - two behind Nigeria's Odion Ighalo - with Mahrez's last-gasp free-kick booking Algeria's place in the final while Mane scored the winning goal against Uganda in the last 16.
Last time out...
Friday's final will be the second time the two sides have met in the competition this year, having been drawn together in Group C.
Algeria won the group match 1-0 - which sealed their spot in the last 16 - thanks to a 49th-minute Youcef Belaili goal. It is the only goal Senegal have conceded in the tournament and the result saw them finish second in the group behind their final opponents.
Senegal will be without key centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly for the final. The Napoli defender picked up a second yellow card in three matches during the semi-final and he will now serve a suspension.
Aside from this, both sides should have fully fit squads to choose from.
Cisse: We can better 2002
Senegal manager Aliou Cisse was the country's captain when they were Africa Cup of Nations runners-up in 2002, losing on penalties Cameroon during a home tournament.
The former Birmingham City and Portsmouth midfielder is hoping his current team can go one better than the 2002 contingent and win the competition.
"There is a pride at getting to the final. It had been 17 years since we got this far, since my generation in 2002," Cisse said.
"Our philosophy is to take a game at a time and try to play the best football to erase the disappointment of 2002. It's a dream to win the title not only for me, but for all the Senegalese people. We are close to realising this dream that we could not achieve in 2002."