Will Sadio Mane score for Senegal and open his AFCON account? This is the standout fixture of Group C – also known as the group of death – leaving plenty of valid Senegal vs Cameroon first goalscorer prediction calls.
Unexpectedly, Mané was unable to make his mark, as the reigning AFCON champions cruised to a 3-0 opening match win against Gambia. Instead, Senegal were led to victory by the impressive midfield duo of Lamine Camara and Pape Gueye. However, the pair might have less room to dominate against a stronger Cameroon side, who awaits the Lions of Teranga next in Group C.
That said, Cameroon themselves were unable to replicate the success of Senegal in their AFCON curtain-raiser, having to claw back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Guinea. Yet, certain Cameroon players caught the eye and showed plenty of quality in the comeback draw, so they will certainly hope to make an early impact and upset the Senegal title push.
Will Sadio Mane score for Senegal?
There was plenty of expectation that Mané could kick start his AFCON scoring tally against Gambia. However, the Scorpions kept the Senegalese captain general quiet throughout the contest, as he could not register a shot on goal.
It was a disappointing goalscoring start for Mané, who impacted Senegal’s performance with an assist for Pape Gueye’s opener after just four minutes.
Despite his lack of goalscoring threat against Gambia, Mané cannot be written off, especially as the 31-year-old has notched five goals in his last six internationals. He is joint-favourite to score first at 11/2, alongside the ‘no goalscorer' option.
Senegal vs Cameroon first goalscorer prediction – other picks
Lamine Camara (Senegal)
Making just his seventh international appearance, Lamine Camara emerged as Senegal’s unlikely attacking threat against Gambia. Yet the 20-year-old scored two expertly taken goals. For his first, Camara controlled in his stride before firing low into the net, while the second was a curling 20-yard strike that nestled into the top corner.
It was the diversity of each goal that stood out and showed Camara is an all-round midfielder capable of getting into the right areas. As an outsider for the first goalscorer against Cameroon, Camara could be a solid selection after his all-action display against Gambia.
Frank Magri (Cameroon)
In the absence of AFCON 2022 top goalscorer Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon will have to rely on attentive goal sources. Frank Magri stepped up in Cameroon’s opening match against Guinea with a 51st-minute equaliser.
Magri took his opportunity well, rising above his marker in the six-yard box to convert with his only attempt during the game. The clinical finish demonstrated the 24-year-old’s ability to get into promising areas and to impose himself on the opposition's defence.
The Toulouse forward also has two goals in his last three international appearances. Magri could therefore be Cameroon’s big goal threat against Senegal.
Georges-Kevin N'Koudou (Cameroon)
Despite failing to open his AFCON account against Guinea, Georges-Kevin N'Koudou was a constant threat in a man of the match performance. The winger did not let the Guinea backline rest, and probed for an equaliser with three shots and seven key passes.
For club side Damac FC, N'Koudou has consistently produced such forward-thinking displays. Before heading to the AFCON finals, the forward was in sensational scoring form, notching eight goals in his previous five appearances in the Saudi Pro League.
N'Koudou’s direct play and positive form will be a key asset for Cameroon, especially in what could be a tight game against Senegal.
The presence of the experienced Karl Toko Ekambi in the central areas could also shift the attention of Senegal’s defenders, leaving potential space for in-form N'Koudou to operate.