Sunday Nov 18, 2018. 20:09
Algeria defeated hosts Togo 4-1 at the Municipal Stadium in Lome on Sunday to secure qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The Fennec Foxes move to 10 points at the head of Group D and are guaranteed to finish in the top two. They have also done a massive favour for second-placed Benin, who remain two points clear of Togo and Gambia in third and fourth respectively.
Algeria claimed the lead in the 13th minute, with star man Riyad Mahrez showing great composure when goalkeeper Bassa-Djeri Sabirou sprinted off his to make an interception, striking a shot from long range to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Togolese defender Sadate Ouro-Akoriko tried to save the ball with his hands on the goal-line but couldn’t keep it from hitting the back of the net – had he done so, he surely would have seen a red card instead of the yellow he was issued with.
The North African giants doubled their lead in the 28th minute, with right-back Youcef Attal scoring an incredible individual goal which saw him run most of the length of the field, and just two minutes later it was 3-0 when Mahrez banged home another powerful effort from the right of the penalty area.
Togo were stunned by the three-goal salvo inside the opening half hour, but they responded well in what remained of the first half and veteran forward Emmanuel Adebayor went close to pulling one back with a header just a few minutes before the interval.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Sparrow Hawks got themselves on the score sheet, with Kodjo Fo Doh Laba netting with a fine header from a corner kick. The goal sparked the West African side into life and they put Algeria under pressure for much of the second half.
But the Fennec Foxes wrapped up an impressive away win in injury time when Baghdad Bounedjah took advantage of Togo’s tiring defence and completed a 4-1 victory.
Togo (0) 1 (Laba 53’)
Algeria (3) 4 (Mahrez 13’ 30’, Attal 28’, Bounedjah 90+2’)
Togo: Sabirou, Atchou, Kouloum, Ouro-Akoriko (Akakpo 35’), Lawson (Mlapa 85’), Dossevi, Gbegnon, Atakora, Ayite, Adebayor (Denkey 80’), Laba
Algeria: M’Bohli, Tahrat, Hassani, Bellaili (Ounas 85’), Atal, Bounedjah, Bensebaini (Abdellaoui 46’), Feghouli, Mahrez, Meziane (Zeffane 82’), Benzia (Taider 72’)