Algeria lifted their second-ever Africa Cup of Nations title on Friday night, earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium.
It took Algeria just over a minute to take the lead in spectacular circumstances when Baghdad Bounedjah’s long-range effort flicked high in the air off Salif Sane, before the ball dropped out of the heavens and into the back of the net.
The two sides exchanged needless fouls for the majority of the first half, with both struggling to create any real opportunities before the interval.
Senegal began the second half brightly and thought they had a way back into the game after they were awarded a penalty shortly before the hour mark, only for VAR to overrule the decision. Both M’Baye Niang and Youssouf Sabaly had excellent opportunities to score but, for all their hard work, Senegal could not find a way through, and it was Algeria who lifted the famous trophy.
Key Talking Point
The Senegal squad will be incredibly frustrated by this defeat. They struggled to create any real chances, with Algeria doing all they could to break up Senegal’s attacking flow. There were countless fouls, and the Lions simply couldn’t get going.
For Senegal, the wait for their first ever AFCON title goes on.
STAR MAN – Idrissa Gueye
The likes of Sadio Mane and Ismaila Sarr endured a challenging evening against Algeria, but Idrissa Gueye’s solid work in the midfield gave them plenty of chances to change that.
absolutely gutted for gueye there, the man deserves the world
— Adam (@elyodx) July 19, 2019
The Everton man was his typically determined self, recovering possession well before giving the ball to his creative teammates. Gueye’s energy allowed him to fly around the pitch, and he could be seen frustrating Algeria all night long, even if he his frustration often got the better of him.
It was far from a perfect showing for Gueye, but he was certainly unfortunate to come out on the losing side.
Key Talking Point
What a summer this was for Algeria. They were optimistic heading into the tournament, although few would have seriously believed that they would win.
They last won the trophy back in 1990, but they now have a well-deserved second to add to their cabinet.
STAR MAN – Aissa Mandi
After their fortunate opener, Algeria needed to remain resolute in defence and, thanks to Aissa Mandi, they certainly did that.
Benlamri-Mandi-Guedioura are the trio of the tournament.
The way they marshal the defense and press is incredible.
The last ditch clearances, blocks and well-timed tackles have become a work of art. #TotalAFCON2019 #SENALG
— #AFCON_Watch (@AFCON_Watch) July 19, 2019
The Real Betis star was dominant at the back, showing his composure to fight off each Senegalese attack. He was always in the right position to shield his goalkeeper, whilst he was comfortable on the ball to try help his team push forward.
This game certainly won’t live long in the memory, but Mandi and Algeria will not mind that at all.