First to Score Victory Jinx Finally Broken
The jinx of scoring first and ending up winner of the match was finally broken on Sunday when the Teranga Lions of Senegal came from behind to tame the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the first semi final match played at the 30th June Stadium in Cairo. The Super Eagles Nigeria failed to upturn the tradition in their match against Algeria. The Fennec went ahead courtesy of an own goal conceded by William Troost Ekong in the 40th minute but that was equalised by Odion Ighalo in the 72nd minute. Hope was dashed when Riyad Mahrez buried the winner on the dot of time to give the North African, side the final ticket.
Coincidence of Jersey Numbers
In last Sunday’s semi final matches, Senegal’s goalkeeper, Abdul Gomes wore jersey Number 23 which took him to the final. Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mohammed Hassen was in jersey Number 16. Fate has put him to play in third place match this evening. Algerian goalkeeper Adi-Rais Cobos Mbolhi was in jersey Number 23 he would play in the final match on Friday while his opposite number in that match with Nigeria Daniel Akpeyi who wore number 16 will play in third place match as well. This was a case of lucky and unlucky numbers!
Senegal, Algeria on the threshold of History
While Senegal will be looking forward to their first final match since Mali 2002 when they lost on penalties to Cameroon, Algeria on the other hand also last played in the final way back in 1990 when they played host to the tournament. The Algerians won by a lone against Nigeria. On Friday, it will be a case of first time winner against a team hoping to win a second time in their football history.
African Coaches Rule the Final
When coach Alain Giresse failed to win against Senegal in the first semi final clash on Sunday, it means that the final match would be a clash of indigenous coaches because Aliou Cisse will be in the dugout for the Teranga Lions while former Algerian international, Djamel Belmadi will occupy the opposing dug out after he eliminated Franco-German Gernot Rohr of Nigeria.
‘Ugwu Green’ Jersey Jinx Continues for Eagles
When the Super Eagles filed played Algeria last Sunday, many Nigerian fans doubted if Super Eagles will win the encounter considering the number of games the country has lost wearing that ‘Ugwu Green’ home jersey. Super Eagles have failed to win all important matches played in that colour till date. At the last World Cup finals in Russia, Nigeria lost 0-2 to Croatia, but won 2-0 against Iceland in the away jersey. Nigeria again lost 1-2 to Argentina in the group’s final match in that same ‘Ugwu Green’ jersey. Here in Egypt, it was the same jersey they wore in the 0-2 loss to Madagascar in the final group match in Alexandria. Now, the jinx lives on!