AFCON2019: Algeria book semifinal date with Nigeria

AFCON2019: Algeria book semifinal date with Nigeria

Algeria have booked their place in the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Ivory Coast on penalties at the Suez Stadium on Thursday.

Widely criticised for a lacklustre outing against Mali in the Round of 16, the Elephants produced their best performance of the campaign against the Fennecs, who were deemed as favourites ahead of the clash.

Galatasaray midfielder Sofiane Feghouli put Algeria ahead after 20 minutes when he found space in the midst of three Ivorian defenders to bend a long left-wing cross past goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.

Max-Alain Gradel, probably the best player of the game, drove Ivory Coast’s push for an equaliser, cutting into Algerian box several times from the flanks and delivering crosses destined for the likes of Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia and Wilfried Zaha, but to no avail as the North Africans went for the break with their slim lead intact.

Ivory Coast maintained the pressure on Riyad Mahrez and Co. after the break but their efforts remained futile until the 62nd minute when Kodja claimed a ball in midfield and dropped deep, evading his markers, before unleashing a left-footed effort beyond Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi to level the scoring at 1-1.

The game would delve into a sluggish back and forth movement with no side making the difference at full-time.

The extra-time played out barren forcing the game into penalty shootout, which went in favour of the Fennecs 4-3, with former Manchester City player Wilfried Bony and captain Geoffroy Serey Die missing their kicks while Mohamed Youcef Belaili bungled one for Algeria.

Algeria will meet Nigeria in the semi-finals on July 14.

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