Nicolas Pepe of Ivory Coast celebrates scoring a goal during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Ivory Coast v Algeria at Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon on 20 January 2022. ©Alain Guy Suffo/BackpagePix
Thursday Jan 20, 2022. 19:47
Therefore, the Elephants progressed to the Last 16 as Group E winners
, while defending champions Algeria crashed out of the tournament having failed to win a single game in this year’s competition.
The match got off to a lively start with the two giants of African football attacking each other without any fear as they were taking risks in the final third.
Ismael Bennacer was just unlucky not to put Desert Foxes of Algeria in the lead when his effort hit the upright with goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare well beaten at his near post 21st minutes into the game.
Almost immediately at the other end, the Elephants broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Nicolas Pepe set up Franck Kessie, who beat keeper Rais M’Bolhi to hand Ivory Coast a 1-0 lead.
The two-time African champions then searched for their second goal of the game and they got it in the 39th minute. Serge Aurier’s free-kick was handed home by Ibrahim Sangara to make 2-0 to Ivory Coast heading into the half-time break.
Ivory Coast did not take their foot off the pedal after the restart and they extended their lead. Pepe beat M’Bolhi with a curling effort to make it 3-0 to Ivory Coast after being set up by Sebastien Haller six minutes before the hour-mark.
The goal served as a wake-up call for the Desert Foxes and they exerted some pressure on the Elephants and they were awarded a penalty after Youcef Belaili was fouled. However, Riyad Mahrez hit the woodwork from the spot-kick.
Algeria did pull one back in the 73rd minute from a well-taken corner-kick by the North African giants. Sofiane Bendebka scored with a simple header into an empty net to make it 3-1 with Aissa Mandi providing an assist.
However, the goal proved to be a mere consolation for Algeria as Ivory Coast stood firm at the back in the remaining minutes and they emerged 3-1 winners on the night.
Ivory Coast (2) 3 (Kessie 22′, I. Sangare 39′, Pepe 54′)
Algeria (0) 1 (Bendebka 73′)
Ivory Coast: Ali Sangare, Konan, Deli (Kanon 68′), Kossonou, Aurier, Kessie, Seri, I. Sangare (Die 69′), Pepe (Zaha 85′), Haller, Gradel.
Algeria: M’Bolhi, Atal (Benayada 80′), Mandi, Bedrane, Bensebaini, Bennacer (Bendebka 62′), Zerrouki, Mahrez, Benrahma (Slimani 46′), Belaili (Boulaya 80′), Bounedjah (Brahimi 62′).