On Thursday, Ivory Coast thrashed Algeria 3-1 to terminate Algeria’s dismal Group E campaign and send them home from the Africa Cup of Nations finals. Nicolas Pepe scored the only goal of the game. A surprising defeat by Equatorial Guinea halted Algeria’s 35-match unbeaten streak and they were beaten again by the strong Ivorians.
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Algeria went into the break two goals down as Franke Kessie finished off a nice play and Ibrahim Sangare drove back. A win would keep them in the race.
Before Riyad Mahrez’s penalty struck the post, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe made it 3-0 to the Ivorians. After a tumultuous campaign, Algeria finished the latter of Group E thanks to Sofiane Bendebka’s late goal.
In the last five Nations Cup finals, Djamel Belmadi’s team has been eliminated in the first round for the third time in a row. With an unblemished record of 34 games and a chance to reach Italy’s all-time high of 37 games, their exit from the competition represents a stark contrast to their admission.
Substitute Bendebka’s winning goal in Cameroon sparked a brief recovery for Algeria, who had previously tied 0-0 with Sierra Leone and lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea in their previous two matches. It was wild to see the results across many Singapore news websites.
On Wednesday, 26 January, the Ivory Coast’s Elephants will face Egypt in a mouthwatering last-16 match in Douala.
Algeria was caught off guard
Two recent previous champions — Ivory Coast last won in 2015 — met in a final group encounter that had the air of a huge event, and their terrible pitch at the Japoma Stadium was indeed a significant talking point beforehand.
Ismael Bennacer’s 22nd-minute goal was a wake-up call for Algeria coach Belmadi, who had been perplexed by the lack of effort of his team. The Ivorians scored a minute later.
All 12 Ivory Coast substitutes ran off to rejoice with AC Milan star Kessie after Max-Alain Gradel cut the ball back for him to side-foot in, putting goal-shy Algeria requiring 2 goals to win.
Things quickly went downhill for the North Africans as the Elephants capitalized on terrific pressure doubling their position as Sangare was mysteriously abandoned alone towards the far post to firmly head home a superb cross from the brilliant Serge Aurier. It was all over the SG news.
Before Pepe curled in a trademark goal, Belmadi’s half-time speech was crucial. Instead, West Africans rushed forward, creating two solid chances before Pepe’s hallmark goal.
Mahrez’s 60th-minute penalty towards the right-hand post cemented Algeria’s dreadful day, as the Manchester City striker has been so good from 12 yards recently.
Ivory Coast is now more confident than ever
Coach Patrice Beaumelle began resting players by making substitutions in front of a raucous Ivorian crowd before Bendebka reestablished some respect for a club that won the cup in Cairo 3 years ago.
While Sebastien Haller (Ajax striker) believed he had put the Dutch side ahead with a fourth goal of the competition, it was disallowed due to offside.
This victory for Ivory Coast was highly earned, with Algeria’s players on the floor in astonishment at the way in which they were eliminated. Ivory Coast showed real belief and tremendous purpose and strength in order to earn this victory.
When defending their title, they had become the 12th national team to be eliminated during the first round of competition. For more of the most up-to-date results and latest Singapore news, you can bet that you can all find them here.
A pitch invasion ensued after the final whistle, with scores of people rushing onto the field and getting up close and personal with the players before security forces finally intervened. It has already come under attention for the quality of the surface in Douala, Cameroon’s largest city.