Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time on Friday when a fortuitous second-minute goal gave them a 1-0 win over Senegal in the final.
Baghdad Bounedjah stunned Senegal with a shot which took a wicked deflection off a defender and looped over the bewildered goalkeeper Alfred Gomis and into the net.
Algeria sat back after that and the first half turned into a scrappy, bad-tempered affair as Senegal, who have never won the title, failed to threaten their defense.
Senegal were awarded a penalty for handball in the second half but the decision was revoked following a VAR review.
Ismaila Sarr missed Senegal’s best chance by volleying wide from inside the area.
The final whistle provoked wild celebrations among the large contingent of travelling Algeria fans. It was a fitting end to a tournament that, with 24 teams for the first time, produced plentiful drama even if quality was sometimes lacking.
Senegal were missing Kalidou Koulibaly, arguably Africa’s finest defender, through suspension and his absence was quickly felt.
The game got off to an extraordinary start when Bounedjah collected the ball, burst forward and unleashed a shot that took a wicked deflection off Sane.
Gomis stayed rooted to the spot, seemingly thinking that the ball was going out, but it dipped under the bar.
But Algeria sat back and allowed Senegal to claw their way back into the game.
They had a major let off in the second half when Ismaila Sarr burst down the right and fired a low cross into the middle.
It struck Adlene Guedioura’s arm and, although it seemed impossible for the Algerian to get out of the way, the referee pointed to the spot but then changed his mind after a VAR review.
Algeria had another let off shortly afterwards. Cheikhou Kouyate sent Mbaye Niang clear and he took the ball around Rais Mbolhi but shot into the side-netting.
Youssouf Sabaly then produced a vicious dipping shot which Mbolhi did well to tip over the bar before Sarr volleyed over with the goal at his mercy.
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