Ivory Coast humiliate reigning champions Algeria 3-1 at AFCON

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Ivory Coast players celebrate victory. photo: Google

Elephants of Ivory Coast chase Desert Foxes of Algeria out of AFCON

By Valentine Amanze

The Elephants of Ivory Coast on Thursday night crushed the Desert Foxes of Algeria, the defending champions, at the ongoing 2021 African Nations Cup (AFCON) with a 3-1 spanking.

Arsenal Nicolas Pepe was among the scorers as the reigning champions crashed out of the competition in the group stage.

Franck Kessie and Ibrahim Sangare scored in the first half for the Elephants in Douala, while Pepe added another goal after the break as the Ivorians finished top of Group E.

Riyad Mahrez hit the post with a second-half penalty before Sofiane Bendebka pulled one back for Algeria with their first goal since arriving in Cameroon, but by then it was too late.

It is the fifth time in the last six Cups of Nations that the reigning champions have failed to make the AFCON knockout phase, but there has arguably never been a worse title defence.

“A failure, simple as that,” was how Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi summed it up.

“We never managed to take our chances, right from the start of the competition. Even penalties we had difficulty with. We just weren’t good enough.”

Algeria came to the tournament on an unbeaten run stretching back over three years but they were held by Sierra Leone in their opening match and then lost to Equatorial Guinea to suffer a first defeat in 36 matches.

They would have gone through with a win against an Ivory Coast side already guaranteed their place in the knockout rounds, but that never looked likely.

Their demise was lapped up by the fans at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroon’s economic capital, with the 50,000-capacity ground filling up as the game went on.

 

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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