Africa Cup of Nations: Algeria beat Senegal 1-0 to reach last 16




Youcef Belaili (centre) scored his second international goal against Senegal, with his first coming earlier this month in a friendly against Mali

Algeria beat Senegal to clinch a place in the Africa Cup of Nations last 16.

The match was billed as a showdown between Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez, of Manchester City, and Senegal’s Liverpool forward Sadio Mane – but both players had quiet games.

Youcef Belaili blasted home the only goal of the game from the edge of box from Sofiane Feghouli’s cross.

Senegal almost equalised with the final action of the game, with Mane heading over from close range.

Africa’s highest ranked team need to beat Kenya in their final group game to be guaranteed a place in the knockout stages.

Mane was unfortunate not to win a penalty when he was sandwiched by Adlene Guedioura and Ramy Bensebaini with 20 minutes to go. The video assistant referee system does not come in until the quarter-final stage.

The game did not live up to the hype, with Senegal not having a shot on target until the 78th minute when Youssouf Sabaly’s 20-yard shot was parried by Rais M’Bolhi and Mbaye Diagne put the rebound wide from close range.

There was no action of note in the first half at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo, with former West Ham winger Feghouli curling wide moments before setting up the only goal.

Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye blazed a shot over for Senegal just after the hour-mark and Mahrez, in a rare moment of magic, lashed an effort just wide from long range.

Group C’s other teams, Kenya and Tanzania, meet at 21:00 BST in the same stadium as both sides look to pick up their first points of the tournament.

Analysis

BBC Sport’s Nick Cavell at 30 June Stadium

As often happens when you get two teams who had been widely praised for their opening game – against somewhat poorer opposition – coming head-to-head they ended up cancelling each other out a bit.

Senegal had their moments – Mane caused problems with his speed, and probably should have had a penalty – but on the other hand they lacked any sort of cohesion. They had no ideas to change the way the game was played.

They looked like they missed Idrissa Gueye – the Everton man who started on the bench – in midfield to pull the strings and organise things.

Algeria looked a lot more solid, balanced and better in defence. Most of all, they used their physicality in a good way, to keep the Senegalese at bay. But they also managed to put together some skilful passes, and the goal proved that – a great cross and a great finish.

Algeria deserve to go through. Senegal need to come up with a Plan B.

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