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Africa Cup of Nations | Group Stage
Jan 15, 2024 at 2pm UK
Stade de Yamoussoukro

3 - 0

Gueye (4'), Camara (52', 86')
Diallo (9'), Camara (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Adams (45+7')

Preview: Senegal vs. Gambia - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Senegal vs. Gambia - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Africa Cup of Nations clash between Senegal and Gambia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Senegal will begin their defence of the Africa Cup of Nations title this week when they square off against Gambia at Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro on Monday evening.

Group C looks like it could be one of the most competitive in the competition, featuring five-time champions Cameroon and the up-and-coming Guinea, who face off at this venue directly after the conclusion of this match.

Match preview

Since Egypt claimed their third consecutive title back in 2010, no team has managed to defend the AFCON trophy, but Senegal come into this year's competition as the favourites to do just that, according to several bookmakers.

In the history of the competition, only three nations have managed to successfully retain the AFCON title: Egypt (1957, 1959, 2006, 2008, 2010), Ghana (1963, 1965) and Cameroon (2000, 2002).

Despite a slow start in the 2021 continental competition, which included scoring just one goal and playing out two goalless draws in the group stages, Senegal shed the tag of underachievers by winning the tournament at the expense of Egypt.

Since then, The Lions of Teranga have gone from strength to strength, boasting a star-studded team that features the likes of Nicolas Jackson, Serge Aurier, Kalidou Koulibaly and the two-time African Player of the Year, Sadio Mane.

Despite significant chopping and changing in recent months, Aliou Cisse's side come into the tournament in excellent shape, winning six of their last 10 matches in all competitions and losing only once in that time.

These two last met in the African Nations Cup back in 2015, which Senegal won 1-0, and with that result, they maintained their unbeaten record against Gambia that dates back to 2008.

Gambia will get their tournament started as the biggest outsiders and the lowest-ranked team in Group C, currently in 29th place among 53 African footballing nations according to FIFA world rankings.

The West Africa side will be making just their second appearance in the AFCON and will have fond memories of their debut tournament when they pulled off an against-the-odds victory over African powerhouse Tunisia en route to the quarter-finals.

However, the Scorpions' form in the buildup to this competition has been far from impressive, as they faced setbacks with defeats against Burundi and the Ivory Coast in their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign at the end of last year.

In addition, their trip to the Ivory Coast for this competition was far from routine as their flight was forced to U-turn shortly after departure due to a lack of oxygen in the aircraft, which some players have said felt like a near-death experience.

Nevertheless, Tom Saintfiet's side are present and will relish the chance to serve as giant killers again this year, and we expect them to approach this match with no fear and nothing to lose, which could ultimately work in their favour.

Senegal form (all competitions):

Gambia form (all competitions):

Team News

Goalkeepers Boulaye Dia and Seny Dieng were late withdrawals from the Senegal squad, and the pair have been replaced by Lorient's Bamba Dieng and Alfred Gomis.

After leaving the field just 32 minutes into the match against Bournemouth on New Year's Eve, many felt that Tottenham Hotspur's Pape Matar Sarr would be ruled out for this competition, but the midfielder has since recovered and should line up in defensive midfield.

Mane will captain the team and lead the line, while former Chelsea teammates Edouard Mendy and Koulibaly will be crucial figures in the backline for The Lions of Teranga.

Thankfully for Gambia, their flight incident had no lasting impact on any of the players or staff, meaning that Saintfiet will have a full squad at his disposal for their opening match of the competition.

Teenager Yankuba Minteh has been tipped as one to watch in this competition; the forward joined Newcastle United last summer and was loaned out to Feyenoord, where he has been very impressive, having scored three goals and providing two assists in 12 league appearances while also notching his first-ever Champions League goal this season.

Senegal possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Koulibaly, Niakhate, Jakobs; Gueye, Kouyate, P. Sarr, Diatta; I. Sarr, Jackson, Mane

Gambia possible starting lineup:
Jobe; Sanneh, Colley, Janko, Mendi; Adams, Marreh, Ngum, Fadera, Barrow; Minteh

We say: Senegal 2-0 Gambia

The defending champions come into the tournament in excellent form and are worthy favourites to defend their crown. They have not conceded a single goal in over 400 minutes of football, and we fancy they will manage to shut out their opponents in this one as well and claim their first win of the competition.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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