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Manchester City at the Africa Cup of Nations: Part 5

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Algeria Faced Ivory Coast in the Quarter-Finals

Algeria v Guinea: 2019 Africa Cup of Nations - Round of 16. Photo by Visionhaus

The Algeria men’s national team defeated the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nation’s Quarter-Finals in what proved to be a nervy finish. Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez started the match and captained the Desert Foxes against the Elephants.

At the start of the match, Algeria seemed more poised and were in control of the ball. They would dominate possession and chances created on goal, and eventually their hard work paid off as the Desert Foxes opened the score in the 20 minute. Sofiane Feghouli, courtesy of a Ramy Bensebaini assist, found the back of the net and this goal meant that Algeria were now ahead. The Algerians had a few opportunities for a second, but these additional efforts were unsuccessful. By halftime, the Desert Foxes had a narrow 1-0 lead.

Algeria then nearly took a two-goal lead at the start of the second half. Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah found himself through on goal and attempted to go around Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo. The keeper, however, would foul the striker and Algeria won a penalty. Bounedjah stepped up to take the penalty, but to the delight of the Ivoirians, his effort crashed off the crossbar, thus keeping the score at 1-0.

The Desert Foxes would be forced to pay for their missed penalty. Minutes later, Ivory Coast leveled the score after a clever passage of play from Wilfried Zaha. The Crystal Palace midfielder would set up Jonathan Kojia, and his effort beat Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi. In what had initially been a dominant Algerian performance, the match had spun on its head and it immediately became a cagey affair.

Despite the equaliser, neither side found a winning goal and the match was forced into extra time. City midfielder Mahrez would be substituted off, and what transpired was a rather drab affair. Both sides seemed nervy heading into extra time, and the match would ultimately be decided by penalties.

To the delight of Algeria, they would advance to the Africa Cup of Nations’ Semi-Finals. The Desert Foxes began the penalty shootout, where their first effort barely squeaked past Gbohouo. After a series of successful penalties, the Ivory Coast would have its first blunder as former Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony’s tame effort was saved by M’Bolhi. Moments later, both Youcef Belaili and Serey Die hit the post on their respective penalties, but Algeria prevailed and would win the penalty shootout by 4-3.

The result means Algeria will face Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations’ Semi-Finals on Sunday, 14 July.