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Africa Cup of Nations: Algeria beat Nigeria to reach final

Riyad Mahrez celebrates

Riyad Mahrez scored a stunning free-kick with virtually the last kick of the game as Algeria beat Nigeria to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final.

With the match heading for extra time, Manchester City forward Mahrez whipped a fierce set-piece into the top corner.

A William Troost-Ekong own goal had given Algeria the lead before Odion Ighalo’s penalty levelled the scores.

Algeria will face Senegal, who earlier beat Tunisia thanks to an extra-time own goal, in the final on Friday.

Algeria started brightly and came close on two occasions thanks to the dangerous Baghdad Bounedjah.

The striker first poked the ball past Kenneth Omeruo then shot straight at Daniel Akpeyi, before bursting through on goal only for Jamilu Collins to narrowly lift the ball over his own crossbar.

But Algeria took a deserved lead when Troost-Ekong turned Mahrez’s deflected cross into his own net from close range.

Nigeria equalised through Ighalo after Aissa Mandi was penalised, following a VAR review, for handling Peter Etebo’s shot.

That was just the second goal Algeria have conceded in the tournament, but they responded well, and Mahrez’s late strike kept alive their hopes of a second Afcon title.

Analysis

BBC Arabic’s Mohamed Qoutb at Cairo International Stadium

Despite having one fewer day of rest than their opponents, Algeria looked well in control in the first half. Bounedjah could have netted at least once from the chances he had, but luck was not on his side. Nigeria, meanwhile, waited for opportunities on the counter-attack with the pace of Ahmed Musa and Samuel Chukwueze.

Troost-Ekong’s own goal came right in time for Algeria to gain more confidence, but Nigeria made use of their opponents running out of energy, having more of the ball and testing the Algeria goalkeeper until they equalised.

But, just as it appeared Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi was keeping all his substitutions for extra time, Mahrez was there to save the day in stoppage time with a brilliant free-kick.

This was a well-deserved win – they simply wanted it more than Nigeria.

Line-ups

Algeria

  • 23M’bolhi
  • 18Zeffane
  • 2MandiBooked at 71mins
  • 4Benlamri
  • 21Bensebaini
  • 17Guédioura
  • 7Mahrez
  • 10FeghouliBooked at 68mins
  • 22Bennacer
  • 8Belaïli
  • 9BounedjahBooked at 52mins

Substitutes

  • 1Doukha
  • 3Tahrat
  • 5Halliche
  • 6Fares
  • 11Brahimi
  • 12Ounas
  • 13Slimani
  • 14Boudaoui
  • 15Delort
  • 16Oukidja
  • 19Abeid
  • 20Atal

Nigeria

  • 16Akpeyi
  • 20AwaziemBooked at 88mins
  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 22Omeruo
  • 3Collins
  • 8Etebo
  • 4Ndidi
  • 13Chukwueze Substituted forOnyekuruat 78′minutes
  • 18Iwobi
  • 7Musa
  • 9Ighalo

Substitutes

  • 1Ezenwa
  • 2Aina
  • 6Balogun
  • 10Mikel
  • 11Onyekuru
  • 12Shehu
  • 14Onuachu
  • 15Simon
  • 17Kalu
  • 19Ogu
  • 21Osimhen
  • 23Uzoho
Referee:
Bakary Gassama

Match Stats

Home TeamAlgeriaAway TeamNigeria
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home8
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home1
Away2
Fouls
Home20
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Algeria 2, Nigeria 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Algeria 2, Nigeria 1.

Goal!

Goal! Algeria 2, Nigeria 1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the top left corner.

Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria).

Ismael Bennacer (Algeria) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Ismael Bennacer (Algeria) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Mehdi Zeffane.

Foul by Henry Onyekuru (Nigeria).

Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Youcef Belaïli.

Booking

Chidozie Awaziem (Nigeria) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Henry Onyekuru (Nigeria) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Ahmed Musa.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Adlène Guédioura (Algeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mehdi Zeffane (Algeria).

Foul by Peter Etebo (Nigeria).

Ismael Bennacer (Algeria) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.

Foul by Alex Iwobi (Nigeria).

Ismael Bennacer (Algeria) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Nigeria. Henry Onyekuru replaces Samuel Chukwueze.

Foul by Jamilu Collins (Nigeria).

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria).

Djamel Benlamri (Algeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Adlène Guédioura (Algeria).

Goal!

Goal! Algeria 1, Nigeria 1. Odion Ighalo (Nigeria) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Booking

Aissa Mandi (Algeria) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

VAR: Penalty Kick. Referee decision on field cancelled.

Delay in match (Nigeria). VAR checking.

Booking

Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria) is shown the yellow card.

Penalty conceded by Aissa Mandi (Algeria) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Attempt blocked. Peter Etebo (Nigeria) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Samuel Chukwueze.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Djamel Benlamri (Algeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Peter Etebo (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ismael Bennacer (Algeria).

Attempt missed. Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Dangerous play by Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria).

goal

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