Zaha sends Ivory Coast through to quarterfinals

Ivory Coast's forward Wilfried Zaha (L) fights for the ball with Mali's defender Hamari Traore during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations at the Suez Stadium in the north-eastern Egyptian city on July 8, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 July 2019
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Zaha sends Ivory Coast through to quarterfinals

  • Crystal Palace winger Zaha ensured the Ivorians remained unbeaten against Mali at the tournament

SUEZ: Wilfried Zaha grabbed the only goal to settle a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash as Ivory Coast beat Mali 1-0 in Suez on Monday.

Crystal Palace winger Zaha ensured the Ivorians remained unbeaten against Mali at the tournament as he squeezed home on 76 minutes to book a quarterfinal showdown with Algeria.

However, the 2015 champions will need to perform much better if they aspire to a second title in four years as Ivory Coast’s talented attack of Zaha, Nicolas Pepe and Jonathan Kodjia largely failed to fire.

The in-demand Pepe returned for the Elephants after sitting out the 4-1 win over Namibia along with Kodjia, while Mali recalled a host of regulars having rested key players after qualifying from their group with a game to spare.

Mali advanced as joint top scorers in the group stage with six goals alongside Algeria and had the Ivorians in trouble early here, although Lassana Coulibaly lost his footing after Moussa Marega attempted to square.

Sylvain Gbohouo had a lucky escape when he flapped at a corner with Abdoulay Diaby stabbing over before the Ivory Coast goalkeeper tipped behind his curling free-kick.

Mali were seeking a first victory over their fellow west Africans at the Cup of Nations after three losses and a draw, but Southampton recruit Moussa Djenepo stumbled as he bore in on goal at start of the second half.

Kodjia was denied at the other end as Djigui Diarra turned the Aston Villa forward’s shot wide with his legs and an ineffective Pepe was withdrawn on 68 minutes.

Zaha made the breakthrough with a quarter of an hour remaining when Gbohouo’s hopeful ball upfield skipped all the way through to the Arsenal target who snuck the ball past Diarra. Adama Traore created a late chance as Mali sought to send the game to extra time but his stinging drive was kept out by Gbohouo.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.