AFCON 2019: Aliou Cisse says his Senegal side fear no-one

Press Association Sport 09:03 23/06/2019
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Senegal coach Aliou Cisse accepts his side are one of the favourites for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal’s best result at the continental tournament was in 2002 when they finished runners-up, but they are expected to challenge for a first crown in Egypt.

They begin their Group C campaign against Tanzania on Sunday, but Cisse is warning his side to take every game seriously.

They will be without Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, who is suspended after an accumulation of yellow cards during the qualification stage.

Cisse told the tournament’s official website: “We will take it game by game because we know that anything can happen.

“It is true that we are one of the favourites, but to reach that level we will have to beat everyone, and it will begin with Tanzania on June 23.

“We must focus on our abilities and not think of our opponents.

“Senegal and Algeria are the favourites of this group, but Kenya and Tanzania should not be underestimated. I can tell you, Senegal is not afraid of any team today.”

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AFCON 2019: Nigeria underwhelm in 1-0 win over debutants Burundi

Press Association Sport 08:57 23/06/2019
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Nigeria players gratefully celebrate their victory.

Burundi’s Africa Cup of Nations debut ended in a 1-0 defeat despite an encouraging display against an underwhelming Nigeria in Group B.

The minnows, ranked 134th in the world, were the better side in the first half, with Frederic Nsabiyumva hitting the crossbar.

However, their dream start was spoiled by former Watford striker Odion Ighalo, who scored within five minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute.

The Super Eagles, making their first appearance since winning the trophy in 2013 having missed the last two editions, came into the tournament as joint-third favourites but their performance did not suggest that.

Despite starting with Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi, Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze, the three-time winners struggled to impose themselves on their underdog opponents.

Burundi showed all the promise which had seen them come through their qualifying group as unbeaten runners-up, but they just could not make the breakthrough when on top.

Ighalo, Nigeria’s leading scorer in qualifying, came on in the 73rd minute and converted the best move of the match.

He latched on to the London-born former Chelsea academy graduate Ola Aina’s clever defence-splitting backheel to bend a shot around goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana and inside the far post

Underdogs Uganda sprang a surprise at the Africa Cup of Nations with a convincing 2-0 victory over a disappointing DR Congo side in Group A.

Patrick Kaddu’s flicked near-post header opened the scoring in the 14th minute and Uganda should have extended their lead before half-time with Emmanuel Okwi wasting a free header of his own.

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie nodded a corner wide before the break but DR Congo’s problems worsened when Okwi did find the target shortly after the restart with a glancing, looping header across Ley Matampi into the far corner.

Substitute Jonathan Bolingi hit the crossbar as Congo tried to find a response but they produced little in the way of a threat in the final 20 minutes.

Uganda’s victory lifted them above hosts Egypt into first place in Group A on goal difference.

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Copa America 2019: Argentina players "need support and not pressure", says coach Lionel Scaloni

Press Association Sport 08:20 23/06/2019
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Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni says their must-win Copa America game with Qatar is “not life and death”.

La Albiceleste have endured a wretched campaign in Brazil so far, losing against Colombia and drawing with Paraguay ahead of their final group game with the Asian invitee on Sunday.

Brazil’s 5-0 win over Peru on Saturday has helped their qualification cause, but Scaloni is not going to worry too much about what happens.

“These guys need support and not so much pressure on them,” he said in a press conference. “It’s not life and death, it’s a football game.

“We have to win it and that’s enough. If what happens, happens, it doesn’t help. They need positivity to do their best.

“If we win we will go through the round, the result of Brazil against Peru did not change much for us because we should win and we are focused on that.

“Psychologically and emotionally we are well. We have to raise the game to go out and win and we will do it.”

Much has been made about Scaloni’s potential team selection, with reports that Paulo Dybala will join Lionel Messi in attack.

“The team is decided and the players know it. But I’m not going to say it because it would give the Qatar manager an advantage,” Scaloni added.

“Qatar plays football well, the coach makes them change systems in the same game and it is a difficult team. I always respect the rivals and this one even more because it is still everything at stake.”

The Asian Cup winners drew 2-2 with Paraguay in their opening game but lost to Colombia.

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