Algeria’s Desert Foxes defeated Teranga Lions of Senegal 1-0 on Friday in Cairo to emerge champions of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Completesports.com reports.
It was Algeria’s first AFCON title win in 29 years and their second in history, having lifted the top continental silverware last in 1990 on their home soil following a 1-0 win against Super Eagles in the final.
Bounedjah fired the solitary match winner for the Desert Foxes just two minutes after kickoff when he cut in from the left to deliver a right- footed effort that deflected off defender Sane’s stretched leg in a bid to block the strike. The ball looped over the Senegalese goalkeeper who had strayed few steps off his goal line.
Falling behind so early under the bizarre circumstance, the Teranga Lions roared ceaselessly and should have come to level terms with Algeria in 38th minute but Niang’s left footed strike of extraordinary quality went marginally over the crossbar, leaving the West Africans with frustration.
The Senegalese were not without efforts, they bossed their north African foes with finesse, grit, and precision, enjoying an incredible 61 percent ball possession which left the Foxes to always fall back home to defend in large numbers.
The Cisse’s men thought they had a genuine penalty appeal on the stroke of 45 minutes when Saivet went to the ground inside the box when an Algerian defender swept the ball into corner before the attacker could pull the trigger.
Algeria, winners in 1990, held on till the half time break.
Senegal continued from where they left off in the first period. They kept Algeria under intense pressure but the Algerians hung on.
The Lions thought they had gotten a penalty that could possibly see them draw level on 61 minutes when the ball hit a defender’s arm, but the Video Assistant Referee, VAR, overruled the referee’s initial penalty decision.
Senegal had the clearest opportunity to draw level in 66 minutes when Niang was freed on the right side. Niang outpaced his markers, dribbled the goalkeeper but directed his kick wide and high to the consternation of the Senegalese supporters.
Three minutes later, Saivet forced an incredible save from the Foxes’ goalkeeper with a rising shot from distance.
Despite their delightful and domineering play, the Senegalese continued their wastefulness with Sarra firing lamely over the crossbar on 82 minutes from inside the box.
The Algerians resorted to game management as Senegal continued to pour forward in large numbers.
As the clock continued to count down, frustration set in with Senegal finding it difficult to find the equaliser.
And so it ended as the Teranga Lions were unable to find an equaliser until the final whistle.
By Adeboye Amosu in Cairo