Cote d’Ivoire gave Algeria a nightmare at the Japoma Stadium on Thursday January 20. The Elephants defeated the defending Champions in a 3-1 humiliation.
Algeria who hoped to defend the title they won in 2019, were faced with a tough side on Thursday, which denied them qualification to the next round.
The Desert Foxes were unable to contain the pressure from their Ivorian opponents. Constant attempts to break their defense loose from the start of the match, finally led to Frank Kessie’s goal for Cote d’Ivoire, 22 minutes into the game. 17 minutes later, Ibrahim Sangare added a second, before halftime.
The equation would further be complicated in the second half by the two-time AFCON winners, with a third goal from Nicolas Pepe.
After Pepe’s goal, the Algerians stepped up their efforts. In the 60th minute, they knew they had gotten the chance to break their deadlock when captain Riyad Mahrez moved to the penalty spot, following a foul on Belaili. Unfortunately, the wait for a goal was further extended as Mahrez hit the keeper’s left-hand post.
Coach Djamel Belmadi’s boys kept pressing hard and finally, Sofiane Bendebka was just in the right position for a fine header in the 73rd minute. The scores became 3-1, thus raising the hopes of the Algerians.
Cote d’Ivoire’s continuous determination to cause even more damage made it difficult for the Desert Foxes to better their situation.
The Elephants therefore move to the next round alongside Equatorial Guinea in Group E. The Nzalang Nacional defeated Sierra Leone 1-0 in their final Group stage game.