Algeria
won the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time as a freak early goal secured
a 1-0 win against Senegal in the final in Cairo.

Baghdad
Bounedjah’s shot took a huge deflection off Salif Sane and looped over
goalkeeper Alfred Gomes.

Senegal,
who have never won the competition, were awarded a penalty for handball in the
second half but it was overturned after a VAR review.

Algeria
closed out the rest of the game to win their first title since 1990.

Senegal’s
players collapsed on the pitch in tears at the final whistle.

Liverpool
forward Sadio Mane, who said before the game he would swap his Champions League
winners medal for Africa Cup of Nations success, looked disconsolate as Algeria
players celebrated around him.

“Without
the players I am nothing,” said Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi. “They
are the main ones. I suppose the staff played its part in guiding the players
but they applied the instructions incredibly well.”

Senegal,
making only their second appearance in the final since 2002, dominated for
large periods but struggled to make the most of their possession.

M’Baye
Niang was at the centre of two of their best chances as he flashed a fierce
drive over the bar just before the break, and rounded keeper Rais M’bolhi early
in the second half only to shoot wide from a tight angle.

M’Bolhi
also did well to palm over a stinging effort from Youssouf Sabaly.

The
decisive moment for Senegal was the reversal of the decision to award a penalty
on the hour mark.

Ismaila
Sarr’s cross was blasted straight at Adlene Guedioura’s arm, referee Neant
Alioum pointed to the spot, but, just as the Senegal players started
celebrating the decision, he quickly indicated that a VAR review was under way.

After
watching the replays on the pitch-side monitor, which clearly showed
Guedioura’s arm being by his side, Alioum reversed the decision.

Although
the decision was correct, the result was harsh on Senegal, with Algeria
managing only one shot on goal.



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