AFCON 2023: Senegal sets sights on knockout phase ahead of Cameroon duel


Senegal, the reigning champions of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), kicked off their 2024 campaign in style with a comfortable 3-0 victory over a ten-man Gambia.

In a tournament where other favorites like Nigeria, Egypt, and Ghana stumbled in the first round, Senegal’s win extended their unbeaten streak in the competition to eight matches (W6, D2), putting them in a strong position for another title run.

The defending champions now set their sights on a crucial encounter against 2017 champions Cameroon in their second group stage match. This clash carries historical weight as Cameroon eliminated Senegal on their way to winning the trophy in 2017.

The two nations have faced each other only once since that game, resulting in a 1-0 victory for Senegal in October last year. A win in this match would not only secure Senegal’s spot in the knockout phase but also mark back-to-back victories over Cameroon for the first time since the 1960s.

Cameroon, entering the game after three consecutive matches without a clean sheet, faces the challenge of overcoming a 1-0 deficit in each of their last two encounters. The return of goalkeeper Andre Onana, who featured for Manchester United over the weekend, could be crucial to shoring up their defense.

Players to watch include Senegal’s Lamine Camara, who netted a brace in the first round, and Cameroon’s Frank Magri, a scorer for both his national team and Toulouse in Ligue 1. The match is expected to be closely contested, with none of the last eight head-to-head encounters producing more than 1.5 total goals.

As Senegal eyes the Round of 16 and seeks to maintain their dominance in the competition, Cameroon aims to bounce back and avoid an early exit, given their strong track record of progressing from ten of their last 11 AFCON group stages. The stage is set for an intense battle between two African football powerhouses.

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