Ivory Coast ended Algeria’s disastrous AFCON campaign by beating them in their last group-stage match.
Ivory Coast defeated Algeria 3-1 in their Africa Cup of Nations game on Thursday. The reigning champions crashed out of the competition early while the Elephants topped the Group E standings.
Algeria came into the match knowing only a win would keep their qualification hopes alive. The Fennecs, however, found a slow start to the game as Ivory Coast quickly controlled the possession.
Milan midfielder Franck Kessie opened the scoring for Ivory Coast in the 22nd minute. Following a brilliant run from Nicolas Pepe, Kessie volleyed the cutback into the bottom corner of the net. The Elephants kept on attacking after scoring the opener and doubled their lead through Ibrahim Sangare 15 minutes later.
Algeria tried to mount a comeback in the second half, but they were too vulnerable on the counter-attacks. Nicolas Pepe completed his excellent performance by scoring a curling effort ten minutes into the second period.
Algeria then had a chance to get one back quickly as the referee awarded them a penalty for a foul on Youcef Belaili. However, Riyad Mahrez missed the penalty, ending the Fennecs’ hopes of coming back into the game.
Sofiane Bendebka scored for Algeria to make it 3-1 in the 73rd minute. However, it was not enough to save his side from their second defeat of the campaign.
Algeria crashed out of the tournament by finishing in fourth place with only one point. The Fennecs suffered a similar elimination in 1992 when they started the games as the reigning champion but went out after the group stage.
On the other hand, Ivory Coast qualified to the knockout stage as the Group E leaders. Elsewhere in the group, Equatorial Guinea defeated Sierra Leone to finish second ahead of their opponents.
Ivory Coast: Sangare (6); Aurier (9), Kossounou (6), Deli (7), Konan (7), I. Sangare (7), Seri (7), Kessie (8), Gradel (7), Haller (7), Pepe (8).
Bench: Maiga (6), Kanon (6), Zaha (6), Die (6).
Algeria: M’Bolhi (6); Attal (6), Bensebaini (6), Bedrane (5), Mandi (7), Belaili (6), Zerrouki (6), Bennacer (6), Mahrez (5), Benrahma (5), Bounedjah (5).
Bench: Benayada (6), Bendebka (7), Boulaya (6), Slimani (5), Brahimi (6).
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