Following a fascinating few weeks of non-stop action over in Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations, the tournament came to an end last night as Algeria were able to outlast Senegal and become the Champions of Africa for the second time in their history.
Heading into this game they were considered to be the slight favourites by many fans who had been watching consistently throughout their first six games, and rightly so. Senegal, on the other hand, were going in search of their first ever AFCON title, and they were also hoping to avenge their defeat to Algeria from the group stage.
An anticipated stalemate
Whilst the general thought process was that one goal would probably be all it would take to win the game and subsequently the trophy, very few could’ve anticipated how that goal would come. Less than two minutes after the whistle was blown to begin the game, Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot took a massive deflection off of Salif Sane and went soaring over the keeper and into the back of the net. From that point on, as you can imagine, Senegal had their backs against the wall pretty significantly.
Alas, they say there’s such a thing as scoring too early, and as the first half went on, it definitely seemed as if Senegal were growing in confidence. While the likes of Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez failed to make the desired impact, Senegal were still able to control a good portion of the possession. The problem with that, of course, is that they didn’t really do much with it.
The game progressed into the second half and Algeria continued to remain firm, until a penalty was awarded for the trailing side. Unfortunately for Mane and company it didn’t stick, as the decision was then overturned due to a VAR review.
They pushed and they pushed but they couldn’t find the equaliser, and in the end, it was Algeria who walked away as the champions. Players from both sides collapsed to the ground in a moment of joint ecstasy and pain, with the streets of Paris & Algiers being full of Algeria supporters both young and old.
This is the definition of a generation-defining result for the Algerians, who will take this win in their stride as we look ahead to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. For Senegal, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Senegal: Gomis (6), Sabaly (7), Sane (7), Kouyate (6), Gassama (6), Gueye (6.5), Ndiaye (6.5), Saivet (6.5), Mane (6.5), Sarr (6.5), Niang (6), Diatta (6.5), Diagne (6), Keita (6)
Algeria: M’bolhi (7), Zeffane (6.5), Mandi (7), Benlamri (7.5), Bensebaini (7), Guedioura (7), Mahrez (6.5), Feghouli (6.5), Bennacer (7), Belaïli (6.5), Bounedjah (7.5), Tahrat (6), Slimani (6), Brahimi (6)
Referee: Néant Alioum
Yellow Cards: Gassama, Gueye, Mandi, Bensebaini, Guedioura, Belaïli
Red Cards: N/A
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