Baghdad Bounedjah’s second-minute goal was the difference as Algeria beat Senegal 1-0 to clinch their first AFCON title in 29 years. Senegal had a penalty ruled out by VAR, a moment which allowed Algeria to hold on to their narrow lead to win the match. Here’s the Match Review of the AFCON Final. Bet on football here.
Algeria won their second ever Africa Cup of Nations after an early goal secured a 1-0 win against Senegal in the final in Cairo. Striker Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot took a wicked deflection off defender Salif Sane looping over goalkeeper Alfred Gomes.
Senegal, who have never won the competition, were awarded a penalty for handball in the second half but were distraught after it was overturned following a VAR review. With resolute defending, the Desert Foxes held on to their narrow lead to win their first title since 1990.
Senegal, making only their second appearance in the final since 2002, dominated the game for large parts but lacked the cutting edge in the final third.
Forward M’Baye Niang had Senegal’s best chances in the game. His fierce shot flew just over the bar just before half time then was unlucky not to score after seeing his shot go wide after successfully rounding Algeria keeper Rais M’bolhi. Desert Foxes keeper was the deserved man of the match. He palmed over a rasping hit from Youssouf Sabaly enabling his side get the all-important vctory.
Senegal thought they had a breakthorugh at the hour mark but were dissapointed to see a penalty decision reversed following a review by VAR.
This eagerly-anticipated match was dubbed as a battle between Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez but both of them failed to live up to the hype. Mane failed to make an impact on the game given his team was a goal down while Mahrez underwhelming performance was probably due to to the Foxes’ defensive approach to the game.
The Lions of Teranga failed to rise to the occasion once again in the final and will feel they could’ve done more in the game. However, this was a good tournament for Aliou Cisse and his team.
For Algeria, they rode their luck in this huge match which they rarely threatened. Djamel Belmadi who only took this job last August delivered the title they last won almost three decades ago. His team was impressive from the first game and although they did not display the same attractive and entertaining football they did in the early stages, they definitely deserved this win.
Belmandi should also get huge praise for guiding the Desert Foxes to a title that has evaded them since 1990. With a considerable reputation for front-foot football but bedeviled by a lack of discipline, Belmadi has instilled some control and pragmatism to a side that impressed at the 2014 World Cup, taking eventual champions Germany to extra time in the last 16, before plunging into a period of regression.
Algeria had beaten the Senegalese by the same margin in the group stage and repeated the trick through their one attempt of the game, a moment they’ll live to remember, forever.