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Baghdad Bounedjah’s strike after just 79 seconds – the quickest final goal in the history of the competition – sealed victory for the Desert Foxes.
Senegal had a penalty overturned by VAR which only added to the cagey atmosphere and sweltering conditions at Cairo’s International Stadium.
But a solid defensive display from Algeria allowed them to hold their narrow lead and clinch a first AFCON title for 29 years.
Unlike in many other finals, the two sides went into the game having already met in the group stages, with Algeria emerging victorious with a 1-0 victory.
With that being the opening game of the group, it didn’t feel like much of a psychological edge. Instead, Algeria would find a huge slice of good fortune after just 79 seconds.
Ismael Bennacer won possession down the left flank and sent Bounedjah advancing towards goal. The striker still had a lot to do but found space 20 yards out and decided to shoot.
Despite the best efforts of Salif Sane to block the shot, it took a wicked deflection and looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis and into the net.
The goal sparked wild celebrations on the Algeria bench as the whole team raced to the sidelines. Had they celebrated too much, too soon?
Senegal began to find their feet in the game as Mbaye Niang went close with a fierce drive from 20 yards which cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches.
Sadio Mane was fortunate not to see red after appearing to throw an elbow into the torso of Sofiane Feghouli before a corner was about to be taken.
The referee, perhaps unsighted, allowed play to continue with no intervention from the VAR.
After the break, Senegal looked hungry for the equaliser and nearly got their wish. Ismaila Sarr broke down the right and drilled in a cross which struck Adlene Guediora’s arm, with the referee quickly pointing to the spot.
But after a long delay, Cameroonian official Alioum Alioum consulted the TV screen and overturned the decision with help from the VAR.
Given that Guediora’s arm was by his side, it looked like the right decision.
Senegal continued to push forward, with Niang missing a golden chance after rounding the goalkeeper only to fire into the side netting.
But Algeria held firm despite being pinned to the edge of their area as they clinched a famous victory in Cairo.
Relive all the action with Standard Sport!
We’ll leave you tonight with this image.Algeria: 2019 AFCON Champions!
After a very long wait for the presentation, Riyad Mahrez holds the trophy aloft with his Algeria team-mates. A memorable night for him.
7 hours agoThe wall.
Algeria’s Ismael Bennacer has been named Player of the Tournament.
The 21-year-old assisted the winning goal in the final and had generally excelled throughout in the midfield, playing in every single game. Arsenal fans may remember Bennacer after his two-year spell at the club before leaving for Empoli in 2017.7 hours agoThe celebrations are well underway! Wow!
The Algeria squad join together for a prayer on the pitch after the final whistle. An incredibly powerful image.
What a year it’s been for Riyad Mahrez…1 x Premier League1 x League Cup1 x FA Cup1 x AFCON
Devastation for Senegal. They quite simply didn’t have luck on their side tonight.
The entire Algeria team sprint the length of the pitch because they have won their first AFCON title in 29 years! They were forced to defend for most of that game and Senegal gave it their all, but Bounedjah’s deflected strike is enough to win it. A cagey and ill-tempered affair, but Algeria won’t care! They’ll celebrate this one for some time you imagine.Advertisement
YELLOW CARD 90+2 mins: Yellow cards for Mandi and Guediora in the final moments as Senegal push for a last-gasp leveller. 90 mins: There will be four minutes of added time for Algeria to hold on. They’re getting desperate now. 86 mins: What a waste from Diatta. After Senegal win a free-kick out on the left, the most obvious option is to whip into the box where the likes of Kouyate and Sane can attack it. Nope. He goes for goal and gets it hopelessly wrong with an effort that flies way over the bar. Advertisement
SUBS 84 mins: Double change from Algeria. Tehrat comes on for Feghouli, while Brahimi replaces Belaili. As for Senegal, Keita Balde is on for Niang. Can the Monaco striker find a late equaliser?82 mins: Another decent chance for Senegal goes begging. The ball falls to Diagne in the area, but he lashes a volley from 12 yards out way over the crossbar. YELLOW CARD8 79 mins: Gassama goes into the book for a heavy challenge on Bennacer. Time is running out for Senegal…Advertisement
SUBS 74 mins: There’s a stoppage in play as Benlamri goes down with a nasty looking cut to the face after clashing heads with Mane. It takes a while for the physios to come on and give him treatment. While this goes on, Senegal send on Mbaye Diagne for Saivet.70 mins: Senegal continue to pile on the pressure and it seems only a matter of time before they find an equaliser.65 mins: Niang misses a golden chance! Oh dear. That was the chance for Senegal to get back in this game as they finally carve open the Algeria backline. It’s a fantastic pass from Ndiaye to send him through on goal and he rounds M’Bolhi but fires wide from a tight angle.
VAR61 mins: VAR overturns the penalty! The referee accepts he’s made an error, it wasn’t a penalty and it’s rightly overturned. Senegal complain, but it never should have been given. Justice is done!
60 mins: PENALTY TO SENEGAL! Sarr’s drilled cross hits the arm of Guediora and the referee points to the spot. It certainly looked harsh as the Algeria midfielder had his arms planted by his side and the referee has finally decided to use VAR!