Football

19 July 2019 Algeria 1 Senegal 0 AFCON final

 

A deflected shot by Baghdad Bounedjah in the opening minutes gives Algeria their second AFCON title.

The Desert Foxes had to survive a penalty decision that was (correctly) annulled by VAR.

 


Who knows if Kalidou Koulibaly had not been suspended perhaps Bounedjah's deflected shot might not have arced into the net in the second minute.

As it was Koulibaly's replacement Salif Sane who was the unlucky defender whose attempted block resulted in that goal.

And if the penalty decision given against the Algerians on the hour had been upheld (rather than being, rightly, ruled out by VAR) then perhaps Senegal would have gone on to win.

But the reality was that the very well supported Algerians consolidated their advantage with containing tactics that ultimately frustrated the opposition.

Senegal could offer breaks from Sadio Mane and a couple of threats from Niang, one of which ended with the striker taking the ball too wide.

And full-back Sabaly produced one of the best shots of the final though his effort was competently dealt with by Mbohli.

But Algeria, coached by ex-player Djamel Belmadi, stuck to their game plan and though Mahrez and co. couldn't carve out too many chances they made it difficult for the Senegalese.

So Aliou Cisse's men failed to break down the Algerian defence and lost (as they did in the group stage) by a single goal.

And their wait goes on for an AFCON title.

Meanwhile, the celebrations began among the massed ranks of the Algerians both in the stadium and no doubt in many other locations.

It was their second triumph to add to the one from 1990.

 

report & analysis - John Bethell


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