Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
final between Senegal and Algeria
from the Cairo International Stadium. Senegal booked their spot in the final courtesy of a last-four success over Tunisia, while Algeria recorded a 2-1 win over Nigeria in their semi-final to earn the right to play for the trophy tonight. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates!
SENEGAL: Gomis; Gassama, Sane, Kouyate, Sabaly; Gueye, N'Diaye; Mane, Sarr, Saivet; Niang
ALGERIA: M'Bolhi; Zeffane, Mandi, Benlamri, Bensebaini; Mahrez, Feghouli, Bennacer, Guedioura; Belaili, Bounedjah
Senegal head into tonight's match without the services of Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, which is a huge blow to their chances. Indeed, the centre-back misses out through suspension having picked up a yellow card against Tunisia last time out. As a result, Salif Sane comes into the XI in central defence, while there is also a change further forward as Ismaila Sarr comes in for Krepin Diatta.
As for Algeria, Nice's Youcef Atal is unavailable after breaking his collarbone in the quarter-final win over Ivory Coast. Mehdi Zeffane once again takes his spot in the XI and as expected, the team are unchanged from the clash with Nigeria, which ended with Riyad Mahrez scoring a dramatic late winner. Algeria have been listed in a 4-4-2 formation tonight, but it remains to be seen if that is the case.
Here we go then - the national anthems have been sung, the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. The supporters are ready for what should be a cracking game of football from Cairo. Be sure to stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates.
KICKOFF: Senegal kick things off tonight...
... just a reminder that Algeria recorded a 1-0 win when the two teams met in the group stages of this summer's competition - that should count for little tonight, though. Senegal have had the early possession and deliver an early cross into the Algeria box through Saivet, but Algeria have a goal kick.
GOAL! SENEGAL 0-1 ALGERIA (BOUNEDJAH)
GOAL! Oh my word! Algeria make the breakthrough in the second minute as Bounedjah breaks to the edge of the Senegal box before striking towards goal - it takes a huge deflection off Sane and somehow drops into the back of the net. A freak goal indeed, but a goal nonetheless!
Senegal have to regroup here following the shock of the early goal. The ball looked to be dropping over the crossbar before changing course and somehow ending up in the back of the net.
Algeria are the team on the front foot at the moment and have just been able to deliver a deep free kick into the Senegal box, but Sarr is on hand to make the clearance following a period of panic.
It might be early, but you do get the feeling that Senegal cannot afford to concede a second. Algeria have been excellent at this summer's tournament and it is difficult to imagine that they would pass up a two-goal lead if it arrived. Not too much from Senegal going forward thus far.
Aliou Cisse's side are missing key centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly through suspension and there does appear to be a lot of panic inside their penalty area when Algeria have time and space to deliver. The match is already 10 minutes old and it has been an entertaining contest thus far.
Senegal have the chance to deliver into the Algeria box with Saivet standing over the ball, but the quality is poor and Algeria can break. There have been a lot of free kicks in the last few minutes.
Senegal have had some decent possession in the last few minutes, but they are struggling to make things happen in the final third. Cisse's team certainly have the quality to fashion chances, though, and it would be a surprise if we had seen the last of the scoring in tonight's clash.
Half-chance for Kouyate, but the Senegal ace heads a Saivet free kick harmlessly wide.
Not too much from either Mahrez or Mane in the first 17 minutes - many expected it to be a shootout between the two Premier League stars, but both teams have a lot of talented footballers. Still 1-0 to Algeria here courtesy of that freak goal inside the first two minutes of action.
A lot of possession for Senegal here, but the Algeria goalkeeper has still not had a save to make. There has not actually been a clear chance since Algeria make the breakthrough.
M'Diaye breaks into a wide position before looking to deliver towards Niang, but Bennacer is on hand to make a smart clearance. The game is very stop-start at the moment as the referee is forced to intervene following a number of late challenges - no yellow cards thus far, though.
Saivet has the chance to deliver another dangerous free kick into the Algeria box, but Bensebaini does really well to make a clearing header. Algeria have defended well in the first 23 minutes here.
First sign of Mane for Senegal as the Liverpool attacker races clear in a dangerous position, but Bennacer brings the number 10 to the ground. Very stop-start contest at the moment here.
SAVE! Senegal again have the chance to deliver a free kick into the Algerian box - Saivet goes for goal instead, but M'Bolhi is on hand to make a comfortable save. Still 1-0 to Algeria.
Algeria are not too pleased with the referee at the moment as free kicks continue to go for Senegal - not too much wrong with the decisions, but there are a lot of Senegal set pieces.
Another stoppage here as Kouyate goes down following a high boot. Both teams are struggling to get going at the moment in terms of tempo due to the volume of free kicks. Stop-start game.
Kouyate is actually still down for Senegal following a collision with Bennacer.
Kouyate is back on his feet, but does not look too comfortable. The last thing that Senegal need is to lose the former West Ham United midfielder when considering Koulibaly's absence.
YELLOW CARD! Bensebaini (Algeria) is booked for a foul on Sarr.
Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and it has not been the best half in terms of entertainment. Algeria scored early, but little has happened since in terms of chances. Senegal have been the better side without really threatening to find a leveller in Cairo.
Feghouli has just thrown himself to the ground after taking an elbow from Mane in an off-the-ball collision. It is certainly dangerous from Mane, not in terms of causing injury, but it could be seen as violent conduct. Not sure the Liverpool attacker needs to get involved there.
CLOSE! Easily Senegal's best moment as Niang finds space outside the Algeria box before striking a wonderful effort towards the top corner, but it just misses the crossbar. So unlucky!
Having had another look, the strike from Niang was even better than I thought. It was a terrific hit from the number nine, but it just moved over the target. Senegal are the better team here.
Algeria can count themselves fairly fortunate if they manage to enter the half-time interval with the lead. Indeed, they have not really been a threat since making the early breakthrough.
Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 1990 - overcoming Nigeria in the final. Senegal, though, have never won the competition and have reached the final just once before. Cisse's team continue to threaten, but they are still behind approaching the half-time break.
Anywhere will do for Algeria at the moment as they continue to clear their lines late in the first period. Senegal are all over Algeria, who still lead courtesy of that second-minute goal.
Sarr goes down inside the Algerian box under a challenge from Zeffane, but the referee is not interested and points for a corner kick. We are into the first of two additional minutes.
Another corner for Senegal as Sane has a strike deflected behind. Algeria are holding on the final stages of the first period, with the team in white camped inside their own penalty box.
HALF TIME: SENEGAL 0-1 ALGERIA
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Algeria leading Senegal 1-0 courtesy of an early goal from Bounedjah. Senegal have dominated the ball for long periods, but have struggled to create clear chances. Still at least another 45 minutes of football to come here!
The game's only goal was very strange, with Bounedjah's effort taking a huge deflection off Sane before somehow dropping into the back of the net. Will it prove to be the winner in Cairo?
Senegal had 62% possession in the first period, but only hit the target with one of their five attempts. Algeria, meanwhile, only managed one shot, which was the goal.
Just the one booking to report with Algeria defender Bensebaini carded for a late challenge on Sarr. The 24-year-old is walking a fine line having also made a couple of poor tackles since.
Senegal boss Cisse does have a number of attacking players on his bench tonight, with the likes of Keita, Konate and Diagne capable of making a difference in the second half.
Algeria, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Brahimi, Ounas and Slimani. Both managers can certainly bring quality attackers onto the field if they wish to alter proceedings tonight.
Mane has had some decent moments for Senegal tonight, but it would be fair to say that the Liverpool attacker has struggled to make his mark against a well-organised Algerian defence.
KICKOFF: Algeria resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, both managers will surely have alterations in mind as the second period develops. Game on in Cairo.
Tensions boiled over as the two teams left the field at the interval, with a number of players becoming involved in an altercation which eventually calmed down. Expect more bookings!
Bennacer delivers a dangerous free kick into the Senegal box, but Mane is back to make the clearance. Senegal look to break through Sarr, only for Zeffane to make a last-ditch tackle.
Algeria have only conceded twice in this summer's tournament and Senegal do not really look like scoring at the moment despite having a lot of the ball. Sarr has just delivered from a wide area, but it was comfortable for the Algerian goalkeeper. Still 1-0 to the Greens in Cairo.
Mane does well to burst away from a number of challenges before feeding Niang, but a clumsy touch from the number nine allows Algeria to clear their lines. Poor from the striker there.
Not an awful lot happening at the moment to be honest. Algeria will not mind if this match drifts and they can edge to a 1-0 win, but Senegal have to raise things in this second period. Both managers will certainly be thinking about changes at this stage of the contest.
It is almost as if Senegal are waiting for Mane to produce something here. Saivet has been quiet since the interval, while neither Sarr nor Niang have offered much in the final third of the field.
SHOT! Mane finds space in the final third before looking to strike towards goal, but his effort is blocked and Algeria clear their lines once again. Little bit better from the Liverpool attacker there.
SENEGAL SUB! Senegal make their first change as Diatta replaces N'Diaye.
SAVE! Saivet fires a free kick straight into the arms of the Algerian goalkeeper.
PENALTY! Senegal have a penalty as Guedioura handles inside the Algeria box! The cross came from Sarr and the referee points to the spot - VAR are going to have a look at this one, though.
The decision might well be overturned!
NO PENALTY! The referee changes his mind! To be fair to the referee that is a good call, it looked a penalty on first view, but not on the second. Correct decision.
There will instead be a drop ball inside the Algeria box and their goalkeeper ends up with the ball. Well, that has livened things up. Still a good 30 minutes of action to be played here.
Diatta has been lively since entering the field for Senegal, who are still very much on the front foot. Algeria, on the other hand, have not offered anything going forward in the second period.
CHANCE! Big chance for Senegal as Niang rounds the Algeria goalkeeper before looking to convert from a wide angle, but the ball drifts over the crossbar. Another big moment comes and goes!
Little over 20 minutes of the second period remaining and you do get the feeling that there is another goal in this match - at least one more goal. Senegal continue to force the issue with a lot of pressure, but Algeria are just finding a way to hold on. It is very delicately poised here.
SAVE! Smart save from M'Bolhi to keep out a powerful strike from Sabaly!
Still no movement on the Algerian bench, but we are entering the stage of the match where changes will be considered. Little under 20 minutes of football to play - well, normal time.
Mahrez delivers a dangerous free kick into the Senegal box and Sane does really well to make the clearance. A second goal for Algeria at this stage of the contest would be absolutely huge.
CLOSE! An effort from Belaili is deflected just over the Senegal crossbar as Algeria start to offer a threat - it has been a long time coming. Little over 15 minutes of normal time left.
SENEGAL SUB! Diagne replaces Saivet in Senegal's second change.
Algeria defender Benlamri might need stitches here after suffering a really nasty cut on his face. Can Algeria afford to wait for him? A defensive change might need to be made here.
More pressure from Senegal as Mane breaks into the box, but Algeria manage to scramble it clear once again. Little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining in Cairo.
Benlamri has been sent back onto the field with a huge plaster on his face - will it hold? The number four was not interested in leaving to be stitched up, there is no doubt about that.
But no, Benlamri has to change his shorts, which are covered in blood!
YELLOW CARD! Gueye (Senegal) picks up a yellow card as he brings Bennacer to the ground.
Right, Benlamri has a new pair of shorts and is allowed back onto the field. The cut will surely open up again, though, and it will restart the process. Little under 10 minutes left here.
YELLOW CARD! Gassama (Senegal) is now booked for a foul on Bennacer.
Right, Algeria still have the lead entering the final stages of normal time. Senegal have had a lot of the ball, but clear chances have been difficult to find. That said, you do get the feeling that there will be at least one more big opportunity for Cisse's side before the night is out.
CHANCE! The ball drops kindly for Sarr inside the Algeria box, but he smashes it over the crossbar! The attacker caught it very well, almost too well as it lands in the stands. Big moment.
ALGERIA SUB! Brahimi replaces Belaili for Algeria.
ALGERIA SUB! Feghouli is replaced by Tahrat in Algeria's second change.
SENEGAL SUB! Senegal also make another change as Niang is replaced by Balde.
Time is running out for Senegal, who just need one more big chance to potentially force extra-time. Algeria are not too interested in going forward at the moment as they sit deep here.
SHOT! Senegal have the chance to deliver a free kick from a dangerous area after good work from Balde, but Diatta smashes his effort over the crossbar. Poor from the substitute there.
ALGERIA SUB! Slimani replaces Bounedjah for Algeria.
Senegal again deliver a deep free kick into the Algeria box, but the danger is cleared. We have entered the first of four additional minutes, which is perhaps fairly generous to Algeria.
YELLOW CARD! Mandi (Algeria) is booked for a foul on Balde.
Algeria's gameplan has almost worked - they are very, very close. Senegal have another chance to deliver a deep free kick, but the ball ends up in the arms of the Algerian goalkeeper here.
We are into the final minute of added time and Senegal are struggling. Algeria almost there.
YELLOW CARD! Guedioura (Algeria) is booked for a deliberate handball outside his own box...
... Sane's effort hits the wall!
FULL TIME: SENEGAL 0-1 ALGERIA
The referee blows the final whistle and Algeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations for just the second time in their history. Not the best match, but the Greens will not mind one bit!
Baghdad Bounedjah's deflected effort in the second minute proved to be the difference, with Senegal unable to find a leveller despite having a host of decent opportunities to score.
Thanks for joining Sports Mole
for our live coverage once again. I shall leave you with our match report
from Cairo. Until next time!