Coming into the tournament as the favorites, Senegal suffered from a shocking 2-1 loss to Zambia on the first match day. Senegal is the sixth best team in Africa, and rated as being the 44th best squad in the world by Fifa. Being the favorites and then undergoing a loss on their opening match, there must have been some psychological effects, especially considering that tonight they play their tournament co-hosts Equatorial Guinea.
Already having a win against Libya, Equatorial Guinea’s expectations have certainly changed since the beginning of the tournament. Fans expect a good result in the match against African powerhouse Senegal.
A surprise early exit could be in store for Senegal if other group results go against their favor, unless they get a much needed win against Equatorial Guinea.
As long as Equatorial Guinea can neutralize and defer the start filled attacking lineup of the lions, they might have a chance against the very weak defense of Senegal. If they do in fact defeat Senegal and Libya are beaten by Zambia, then Equatorial Guinea will find themselves deep into the tournament in the quarter-finals.
The coach of Equatorial Guinea, Gilson Paulo is not likely to make any changes to his starting lineup for the match. Senegal manager Amara Traore on the other hand will be looking to create a more balanced lineup, most likely benching team captain Mamadou Niang. Traore hasn’t found the right mix of players yet so expect to see a little experimentation in the lineup.
On paper this game looks like it would be heavily in the favor of the Senegalese, but if you take into consideration their loss of momentum and the home support and gaining momentum of tournament co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, the match should prove to be a good one to watch.