Algeria wins AFCON trophy after defeating Senegal 1-0

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Algeria defeated Senegal 1-0 in the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON to emerge winners of the continent’s top football showpiece for a second time, 29 years after they first won it.

Punch reports that Aliou Cisse, the Senegal coach, was captain when the Teranga Lions lost the final to Cameroon in Bamako 17 years ago but had to endure same fate on Friday as he could only watch the trophy slip through his hands at the Cairo International Stadium.

Contrarily, Djamel Belmadi, born in France to Algerian parents, turns hero back home after steering his side to a long-awaited win since Rabah Madjer led the Foxes to the title on home soil in 1990, beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final.

The North Africans took an early lead through a deflected Baghdad Bounedjah shot in the second minute lead and the Senegalese should have grabbed an equaliser in the 38th minute when M’Baye Niang’s shot went inches wide.

The West Africans were also left disappointed when Cameroonian referee Sidi Alioum awarded a corner kick to them despite the players claiming there was an infringement in the box that should have been a penalty.

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Despite Algeria taking a 1-0 lead into the break, it was Senegal who led in terms of statistics with 61 per cent of the possession and also leading on the goal attempts both off and on target while Algeria scored their only attempted shot of the first half.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane came close to equalising for the Teranga Lions in the 57th minute after dribbling past the Algerian defence but his shot was deflected off the mark by an onrushing defender.

The Senegalese were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute after Adlane Guedioura was adjudged to have handled inside the box but the referee’s decision was overturned after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee.

Afterwards, Senegal got one of their best chances of the half in the 65th minute when Niang rounded the onrushing Algerian goalkeper Adi-Rais M’bolhi but his shot went wide.

Three minutes later, M’bolhi again came to the rescue of the Foxes, parrying away Youssef Sabaly’s 30-yard shot.

Senegal continued their search for a goal with Ismaila Sarr also blasting off the bar from inside the box in the 82nd minute.

It was all too little too late for Senegal when Alioum sounded his whistle, after four minutes of added time, to end the 32nd edition of the continent’s number one football event.

It did send the Algerians into wild jubilations, with the Senegalese left desolate after coming so close, yet too far away to have a hand on the title.

Algeria midfielder Ismail Bennacer was named the tournament Most Valuable Player and Best Young Player.

Yetunde Adegoke

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