Algeria beat Senegal in ill-tempered AFCON final

Baghdad Bounedjah celebrating after scoring in the 2019 AFCON final (Getty Images)
Baghdad Bounedjah celebrating after scoring in the 2019 AFCON final (Getty Images)

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.

"It's incredible. The win is for the whole country," Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi told beIN Sports.

"We have to thank (coach) Djamel Belmadi. The situation was tricky in the past before he arrived."

"It's a bit hard to soak in right now but I think we'll realise what we've done when we return home," he added.

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.

"We conceded the goal very early and on the whole I think we deserved to equalise but it didn't happen," said Cisse.

"I want to congratulate my players. We've been working together a long time for this Cup of Nations and we wanted it but tonight it didn't go our way."

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.

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

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 M'Bolhi 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 M'Bolhi 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. 

Leading goalscorers in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after Algeria won the final in Cairo on Friday:

5 - Ighalo (NGR)

3 - Mahrez, Ounas (both ALG), Bakambu (COD), Mane (SEN)

2 - Belaili, Bounedjah (both ALG), Elmohamady, Salah (both EGY), Kodjia, Zaha (both CIV), Andriamahitsinoro (MAD), J. Ayew (GHA), Bahoken (CMR), En-Nesyri (MAR), Msakni (TUN), Okwi (UGA), Olunga (KEN), Pote (BEN), Yattara (GUI), Zungu (RSA)

Complete list of coaches who have won the Africa Cup of Nations:

1957  Egypt - Mourad Fahmy

1959  Egypt - Pal Titkos (HUN)

1962  Ethiopia - Ydnekatchew Tessema

1963  Ghana - Charles Gyamfi

1965  Ghana - Charles Gyamfi

1968  Zaire - Ferenc Csanadi (HUN)

1970  Sudan - Jirí Starosta (CZE)

1972  Congo - Adolphe Bibanzoulou

1974  Zaire - Blagoje Vidinic (SRB)

1976  Morocco - Gheorghe Mardarescu (ROM)

1978  Ghana - Fred Osam-Duodu

1980  Nigeria - Otto Gloria (BRA)

1982  Ghana - Charles Gyamfi

1984  Cameroon - Radivoje Ognjanovic (SRB)

1986  Egypt - Mike Smith (WAL)

1988  Cameroon - Claude le Roy (FRA)

1990  Algeria - Abdelhamid Kermali

1992  Ivory Coast - Yeo Martial

1994  Nigeria - Clemens Westerhof (NED)

1996  South Africa - Clive Barker

1998  Egypt - Mahmoud el-Gohary

2000  Cameroon - Pierre Lechantre (FRA)

2002  Cameroon - Winfried Schaefer (GER)

2004  Tunisia - Roger Lemerre (FRA)

2006  Egypt - Hassan Shehata

2008  Egypt - Hassan Shehata

2010  Egypt - Hassan Shehata

2012  Zambia - Herve Renard (FRA)

2013  Nigeria - Stephen Keshi

2015  Ivory Coast - Herve Renard (FRA)

2017  Cameroon- Hugo Broos (BEL)

2019  Algeria - Djamel Belmadi

Complete list of Africa Cup of Nations finals results:

1957   Khartoum - Egypt 4 Ethiopia 0

1962   Addis Ababa - Ethiopia 4 Egypt 2

1963   Accra - Ghana 3 Sudan 0

1965   Tunis - Ghana 3 Tunisia 2

1968   Addis Ababa - Zaire 1 Ghana 0 

1970   Khartoum - Sudan 1 Ghana 0

1972   Yaounde - Congo Brazzaville 3 Mali 2

1974   Cairo - Zaire 2 Zambia 0 (replay, after 2-2 draw)

1978   Accra - Ghana 2 Uganda 0

1980   Lagos - Nigeria 3 Algeria 0

1982   Tripoli - Ghana 1 Libya 1 (7-6 penalties)

1984   Abidjan - Cameroon 3 Nigeria 1

1986   Cairo - Egypt 0 Cameroon 0 (5-4 penalties)

1988   Casablanca - Cameroon 1 Nigeria 0

1990   Algiers - Algeria 1 Nigeria 0

1992   Dakar - Ivory Coast 0 Ghana 0 (11-10 penalties)

1994   Tunis - Nigeria 2 Zambia 1

1996   Soweto - South Africa 2 Tunisia 0  

1998   Ouagadougou - Egypt 2 South Africa 0

2000   Lagos - Cameroon 2 Nigeria 2 (4-3 penalties)

2002   Bamako - Cameroon 0 Senegal 0 (3-2 penalties) 

2004   Rades - Tunisia 2 Morocco 1  

2006   Cairo - Egypt 0 Ivory Coast 0 (4-2 penalties)

2008   Accra - Egypt 1 Cameroon 0

2010   Luanda - Egypt 1 Ghana 0

2012   Libreville - Zambia 0 Ivory Coast 0 (8-7 penalties)

2013   Soweto - Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0

2015   Bata - Ivory Coast 0 Ghana 0 (9-8 penalties) 

2017   Libreville - Cameroon 2 Egypt 1 

2019  Cairo - Algeria 1 Senegal 0


- 1959 and 1976 tournaments decided by mini-leagues

- Zaire later renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo

Factfile of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria:


Goalkeepers: Izzeddine Doukha (Al Raed/KSA), Rais Mbolhi (Al Ettifaq/KSA), Alexandre Oukidja (Metz/FRA)

Defenders: Ramy Bensebaini, Mehdi Zeffane (both Rennes/FRA), Youcef Atal (Nice/FRA), Djamel Benlamri (Al Shabab/KSA), Mohamed Fares (SPAL/ITA), Rafik Halliche (Moreirense/POR), Aissa Mandi (Real Betis/ESP), Mehdi Tahrat (Lens/FRA)

Midfielders: Mehdi Abeid (Dijon/FRA), Ismael Bennacer (Empoli/ITA), Hicham Boudaoui (Paradou), Yacine Brahimi (Porto/POR), Sofiane Feghouli (Galatasaray/TUR), Adlene Guedioura (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/ENG), Adam Ounas (Napoli/ITA)

Forwards: Youcef Belaili (Esperance/TUN), Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd/QAT), Andy Delort (Montpellier/FRA), Islam Slimani (Fenerbahce/TUR)

Captain: Riyad Mahrez

Coach: Djamel Belmadi (ALG)

Africa/world rankings: 12/68

Previous appearances: 17

Best placings: champions (1990, 2019)

Path to glory: Group C - Kenya 2-0, Senegal 1-0, Tanzania 3-0; second round - Guinea 3-0; quarter-final - Ivory Coast 1-1 (4-3 penalties); semi-final - Nigeria 2-1; final - Senegal 1-0

Scorers: 3 - Mahrez, Ounas; 2 - Belaili, Bounedjah; 1 - Feghouli, Slimani, Troost-Ekong (NGR) og

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