Algeria secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the Africa Nations’ Cup 2015 with a to a 2-0 win against Senegal on Tuesday in their last Group C game in Malabo. Riyad Mahrez gave Desert Warriors the lead with a goal on the 11th minute. Nabil Bentaleb then produced an excellent finish to double Algeria’s lead eight minutes from time to earn a berth in the quarter final stage.
The elimination of the “Lions of Teranga” was confirmed with Ghana’s recovery from a goal down to beat South Africa 2-1 in Mongomo which also saw confirmed that Algeria finishing second in the group. Africa’s highest ranked in the FIFA rankings can now prepare for a quarter-final tie in Malabo on Sunday while Senegal will have to wait for another edition of the Nation’s Cup to end their quest for a first Continental crown.
The Algerians did not wait long to get the breakthrough when a fast Madjid Bougherra free kick on the 11th minute completely caught out an un-expecting Senegal defense that saw Mahrez’s shot under goalie Bouna Coundoul into the net. It could have been even worse for Senegal with the skillful Yacine Brahimi opening up play for Hilal Soudani but the striker saw his powerful shot punched away by Coundoul. The Lions imposed themselves on the Warriors as the game wore on with Southampton Striker, Sadio Mane firing a powerful shot over the bar and Papy Djilobodji sending a long free kick wide.
Coach Giresse effected a change a left-back Cheikh Mbengue who suffered a head wound in when he clashed with Aissa Mandi was substituted with Pape Souare. They created chances to level up before half-time as Rais Mbolhi failed to advert danger from an Idrissa Gueye shot and then denied Stephane Badji following a quickly-taken free-kick.
The score of the other group C match meant that both Algeria and Senegal were heading through at the interval but the Teranga lions were eager to keep their destiny in their own hands.
With the substitution of Newcastle United Striker Papiss Demba Cisse early in the second half in place of Papa Diop saw Senegal play more attacking football as they pinned Algeria back in search of an equaliser.
But it was Algeria who almost scored again in the 75th minute with Kara Mbodj clearing a Saphir Taider shot off the line after Coundoul nearly messed up a Mahrez cross. They increased their lead with eight minutes left when the Tottenham Midfielder Bentaleb beating Coundoul with a shot from the edge of the box after receiving a pass from Feghouli.
However, both teams were still heading through but a second goal for Ghana moments later in Mongomo saw Senegal and South Africa finishing third and fourth respectively thus heading home.
By: Jammeh E.K. Bojang