Senegal 0-1 Algeria: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Freak Goal Fires Desert Foxes to AFCON Glory

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.

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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.


SENEGAL

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.

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Conceding the goal in the manner they did was hugely unlucky, and missing out on that second-half penalty thanks to VAR will hurt even more, and it was clear that it just was not Senegal’s night. Chances weren’t dropping, deflections were going against them and they simply could not break down Algeria’s resolute defence.

For Senegal, the wait for their first ever AFCON title goes on.


Player Ratings

​Starting XI: Gomis (5); Gassama (5), Kouyate (6), Sane (6), Sabaly (6); Saivet (6), Ndiaye (6), Gueye (7*); Sarr (5), Niang (5), Mane (6).

Substitutes: Diatta (6), Diagne (6), Balde (N/A).


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.

The ​Ev​erton 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.


ALGERIA

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.

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Hope began to build as Algeria saw off the likes of the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, whilst a group-stage victory over Senegal left fans dreaming of glory. Since the AFCON first kicked off back in June, Algeria have been the best side on show, and they now have the ultimate reward to show for it.

They last won the trophy back in 1990, but they now have a well-deserved second to add to their cabinet. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: M’bolhi (6); Zeffabe (6), Mandi (7*), Benlamri (7), Bensebaini (6); Mahrez (5), Guedioura (7), Bennacer (7), Feghouli (5); Bounedjah (6), Belaili (6).​

Substitutes: Brahimi (6), Tahrat (N/A), Slimani (N/A).


STAR MAN – Aissa Mandi

After their fortunate opener, Algeria needed to remain resolute in defence and, thanks to Aissa Mandi, they certainly did that. 



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.


Looking Ahead

Both sets of players will now be afforded some well-deserved rest, before returning to their clubs to begin preparations for the upcoming season.​

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Jan Vertonghen Refuses to Commit to Tottenham Future as Spurs Face Defensive Upheaval

Jan Vertonghen has insisted that he is still happy in north London, but refused to commit to signing a new contract at Tottenham when speaking on the club’s pre-season tour. 

The Belgian has been an invaluable member of the squad since his move in July 2012, but injury issues limited his appearances last season as he approaches the twilight of his career, currently 32 years old. 

Jan Vertonghen

​Spurs have travelled to Singapore to continue their pre-season preparations and Vertonghen spoke to reporters (via the ​Evening Standard) on his arrival – insisting that he wants to be at Tottenham, but leaving the door open for an exit either this summer or at the end of his contract in 12 months. 

“I’ve got a year left, I will have to see what happens,” he said. “I love being here. I feel great with the manager, he’s been supporting me and making me a better player. I’ve got everything I want. It’s the best club to play for at the moment.”

Kieran Trippier was the first defender of the summer out the door of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when he ​completed his surprise move to Atletico Madrid this week, and others are set to follow him out. Elsewhere, the future of key playmaker ​Christian Eriksen is up in the air after he admitted to wanting a new challenge. 

Michael Oliver,Christian Eriksen,Jan Vertonghen,Hugo Lloris

Spurs will come into the season hoping to build on a campaign which saw them reach last month’s Champions League final, and have already ​completed the club record signing of Tanguy Ndombele for €62m.

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Liverpool & Barcelona to Battle for €20m-Rated Left-Back as Race for Quality Backup Continues

​Liverpool and Barcelona are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Augsburg left-back Philipp Max, who is valued at around €20m.

Both clubs are believed to be on the lookout for a backup left-back this summer, with Andy Robertson and Jordi Alba still set to dominate each club’s respective lineups.

Philipp Max

Neither club wants to spend heavily on a reserve option, so ​Sport claim the two sides are looking at Max who – at €20m – is expected to be well within both sides’ budgets.

​Barcelona are said to be in advanced negotiations with the 25-year-old, although ​Champions League holders ​Liverpool have expressed a serious interest in Max after Alberto Moreno was allowed to leave the club this summer.

The Blaugrana are so concerned by Liverpool’s interest – manager Jurgen Klopp recently admitted they ​may need a new left-back this summer – that they have lined up Wolfsburg’s Jerome Roussillon as a potential alternative, although they will push for Max as they believe he would be the cheaper of the two.

Jerome Roussillon

Moves for Junior Firpo, ​Danny Rose and Raphael Guerreiro have already collapsed after Barcelona could not negotiate an acceptable price, so they are desperate to fend off Liverpool’s interest in Max.

An attack-minded full-back, Max would certainly fit in at both clubs. He managed four goals and seven assists last season, whilst he even managed to create a breathtaking 13 goals in the previous campaign.

However, with Augsburg languishing towards the bottom of the ​Bundesliga standings last year, it is believed that they would be prepared to part ways with Max if they receive a reasonable offer of €20m.

Philipp Max

Should he move to either Barcelona or Liverpool, Max would have to accept that game time may be hard to come by, and there is a fear that he may accept a move to a less competitive side in order to ensure regular minutes.

The Germany international has been one of his country’s finest left-backs in recent seasons, and it seems just a matter of time before he leaves the WWK Arena.

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Transfer Rumours: Man Utd & Spurs Ready Fernandes Bids, Rose to PSG, Fekir to Delay Lyon Exit & More

​By this time in the transfer window, we’re starting to get a good idea of what most clubs are going to look like by the time next season comes around, but that can all change instantly.

Even the most insignificant move can trigger an entire chain reaction, and it seems almost certain that there’ll be plenty more business before the window slams shut.

Here are seven stories for you to look out for.​


Everton Ready Bid for Wantaway Lyon Midfielder Lucas Tousart

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It looks like Lyon are ready to move on from midfielder Lucas Tousart, having already recruited Jean Lucas and Thiago Mendes this summer to play in his position, which sounds like bad news for the 22-year-old.

​Le Quotidien du Foot state that nobody really knows what he wants to do right now, but it appears likely that he might want to leave in search of regular game time. ​Everton are ready to offer him an escape route, but only if they lose Idrissa Gueye this summer.

Should Gueye seal a move to ​Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain, then Tousart will likely be their preferred replacement. However, if Gueye stays, then so does Tousart. Basically, it’s all up in the air.


Sean Longstaff ‘Key’ to Steve Bruce’s Newcastle Plans

Sean Longstaff

Steve Bruce may be facing an uphill battle to win over many ​Newcastle United fans, but his latest plan will likely help.

According to ​Sky Sports, Bruce plans to sit down with young midfielder Sean Longstaff to try convince him to remain at the club, insisting that he would be a key part of the team if he rejects Manchester United’s advances.

​Whilst Longstaff is keen to talk to the Red Devils, he would also be happy to remain with Newcastle going forward. Finally, something positive to come out of the club.


Daniel Sturridge Linked With Move Overseas Following Betting Scandal

Daniel Sturridge

It has been a busy few days for Daniel Sturridge. The former ​Liverpool man has been on the lookout for a new club after being released from Anfield, but now has to wait a few weeks after the ​FA banned him following a betting scandal. Wild.

After the fiasco, a spokesman for Sturridge confirmed (via ​The Mirror) that the striker has attracted interest from “teams in many countries, including America, China, Italy, Spain and France, as well as clubs closer to home in the ​Premier League“, so it looks like Sturridge might have some choices to make this summer.

Well, that’s if he is actually allowed to join a new club. The FA are pushing to extend his ban, which could put an end to talk of a move for Sturridge.


Danny Rose Unsuccessfully Offers Himself to Barcelona as PSG Ready £20m Bid

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We don’t know who ​Danny Rose will be playing for next season, but it definitely looks like it’s not going to be ​Tottenham Hotspur.

He was left behind as the rest of the squad travelled for pre-season to allow him to find a move elsewhere, and ​Sport claim Rose has offered his services to ​Barcelona, who are on the lookout for someone to operate as backup to Jordi Alba.

However, the Blaugrana turned him down as a result of Spurs’ £20m asking price, and now Paris Saint-Germain are now believed to be leading the race for his signature.


Nabil Fekir Delaying Real Betis Move in Hope of Receiving Better Offer

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A year after he was supposed to leave Lyon for ​Liverpool, it looks like Nabil Fekir might finally be on his way out of the club. Well, maybe not just yet.

​L’Equipe state that Fekir has agreed a €25m move to Real Betis to replace the outgoing Giovani Lo Celso, but the Frenchman has opted to delay finalising the move in the hope of receiving a better offer.

His entourage believe that one of Europe’s elite are ready to involve themselves in negotiations – is he still stuck in 2018?


Atletico Line Up Christian Eriksen as James Rodriguez Alternative With Angel Correa Linked in Swap Deal

Christian Eriksen

​Atletico Madrid have stepped up their pursuit of forgotten ​Real Madrid man ​James Rodriguez, but convincing Los Blancos to sell to a direct rival likely won’t be easy. Fortunately, they look to have a backup plan.

Diego Simeone is known to be a huge fan of ​Tottenham Hotspur’s ​Christian Eriksen, but Marca claim that he will only push to sign the Dane if he misses out on Rodriguez this summer.​

​Atletico could even look to include Angel Correa in a player-plus-cash deal for Eriksen, after ​Sky Sports claimed they tried something similar with Correa in their pursuit of ​Kieran Trippier. However, Spurs weren’t too keen on the deal then, so they probably wouldn’t be now.


Bruno Fernandes’ Agent Arrives in England With Man Utd & Spurs Expected to Lodge Bids

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How are we so deep into this Bruno Fernandes saga, yet it still feels like nothing has actually happened? United and Spurs both want him, but neither appear to have actually moved ahead in the race for his signature.

Fortunately, this could all soon be coming to an end, as ​A Bola claim that both clubs are ready to make their first official approaches to Sporting CP, whilst Correio de Manha (via ​Sport Witness) add that his agent, Miguel Pinho, is in England to get two concrete offers for Fernandes.

Sporting want €70m, but the two clubs are expected to offer closer to €50m. Can somebody please just offer €60m and call it quits there?

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Mesut Ozil Admits Arsenal Are ‘Lucky’ to Have Quartet of Talented Young Future Stars

​Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil has hailed the quality of the youth coming through at Arsenal, giving special praise to a quartet of players as the club go about their pre-season.

The German struggled for time and trust last season, only managing 24 Premier League appearances in Unai Emery’s first season at the club, netting five times and providing just the two assists. 

Mesut Ozil

Ozil – with the pressure off – appeared back to his best this week as Arsenal defeated ​Bayern Munich 2-1 in the International Champions Cup; Eddie Nketiah netting the winner for Arsenal in the 88th minute and Joe Willock dominating the middle of the park.

Emery has given ample opportunity to the young guns vying for a first team place in pre-season so far, and ​Ozil has hailed their quality. 

“Right now we have a lot of young players and yesterday Joe Willock plays with us,” Football.London quoted the German as saying after the match. “He really showed his quality, and everyone knows Eddie in the team.”

“He is fighting hard and wants to help us. Reiss, he had a lot of experience in Germany. He played very well during the season over there so those people, those kind of players, especially young players will help us a lot. Don’t forget Emile – he is a little bit injured so he is coming back, we know his quality as well. At Arsenal, I think we are lucky to have those young players.”

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Nelson and Smith Rowe both had spells in the Bundesliga last season, the former making 23 league appearances for Hoffenheim, scoring seven times over the duration of the season. Smith Rowe only moved to RB Leipzig in January meanwhile, playing just three games. 

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