The Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro will reverberate with anticipation as Guinea lock horns with Senegal in a decisive Group C clash at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The National Elephants need just one point to secure a top-two finish in the group and guarantee their qualification for the knockout stage, while the Teranga Lions, who have already sealed their place in the last 16, must avoid defeat to finish top of the group.

Senegal secured their place in the knockout stages of AFCON 2023 after a thrilling 3-1 victory over Cameroon in their second group game.

Ismaila Sarr’s deflected shot and Habib Diallo’s sweeping finish put the reigning African champions in a comfortable position. However, Jean-Charles Castelletto’s goal for the Indomitable Lions with seven minutes of injury time remaining put the Teranga Lions under immense pressure.

Just when it seemed Cameroon might snatch a point, Sadio Mane stepped up in the 95th minute to score his first goal of the tournament and seal the victory for Aliou Cisse’s men, taking them to six points from two matches and securing their qualification for the round of 16.

With top spot in the group up for grabs, Senegal will look to maintain their unbeaten run in their final group game on Tuesday. Avoiding defeat would guarantee them first place and potentially a more favourable tie in the next round.

The Teranga Lions are now unbeaten in their last six matches, including friendlies, winning the last three, while they have also not lost in their last nine AFCON matches, dating back to the 2022 tournament.

Cisse, who suffered a gastric infection and spent the night under observation in hospital after the Cameroon game, will be hoping his side can deliver another strong performance to extend their unbeaten run.

Their 1-0 victory over Gambia, secured by Aguibou Camara’s 69th-minute strike, has put Kaba Diawara’s side in the driving seat. With four points from two games, Guinea control their own destiny going into the final group match.

A single point will be enough for the Guineans to seal a top-two spot and book their place in the knockout stages. However, defeat would leave them reliant on Cameroon dropping points against Gambia or a superior goal difference should both teams finish on four points.

It is worth noting that Guinea and Senegal shared the same group at the previous AFCON, playing out a goalless draw. The National Elephants will undoubtedly hope to replicate that result against the reigning champions on Tuesday.

Senegal will be without Abdallah Sima, who has returned to his club Rangers from the AFCON after suffering a thigh injury he picked up in training.

Lamine Camara and Diallo came off with injuries in the win over Cameroon and will have to pass fitness tests ahead of Tuesday’s clash.

Cisse could make some changes to the starting lineup, with the likes of Nicolas Jackson and Iliman Ndiaye looking to feature from the start.

Serhou Guirassy and Liverpool’s Naby Keita are both nursing injuries and will have to pass fitness tests to feature in this fixture.

Francois Kamano should be back in the starting line up after serving a one-match suspension for his red card in the opening match against Cameroon.

Expect a cagey affair, with both teams hesitant to take undue risks. While Senegal’s superior attacking weapons and experience, even with a potential change in their forward line, should give them the advantage, Guinea’s resolute determination to secure qualification could make this a tighter encounter than many predict