Algeria cemented their position as a clear favorite to win the 32nd edition of the African Cup Of Nations with a penalty shoot out win over the Ivory Coast.
The match was an end to end affair straight from the first whistle with both teams going for the kill early on. The Ivorians were unfortunate not to go ahead in the 5th minute. A swift counter-attacking move ending with Max-Alain Gradel’s shot which came off the crossbar.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha showed great footwork beat his man and deliver a cross to Jonathan Khodjia who completely missed the ball. The Elephants were asking some serious questions of the Algerian backline.
Algeria, however good a foothold of the game and almost went ahead after a great team move saw Riyad Mahrez flash a shot just wide. The North Africans unsurprisingly went ahead after 20 minutes through Sofiane Feghouli.
The Foxes’ left back Ramy Bensebaini won the ball excellently just outside the box, he drove in and supplied perfect cut back to Feghouli who could miss from 10 yards out. It was Algeria’s 10th goal in this year’s tournament without a reply.
Zaha was booked alongside Algeria’s Ramy Bensebaini following an off the ball dispute midway through the first half.
Algeria was awarded a penalty in the first minute of the second half when Baghdad Bounedjah was brought down by the Ivorian goalkeeper. He stepped up to take it but could only blast his shot against the crossbar. The Elephants were lucky not to concede a second.
Ivory Coast got their deserved equalizer on the hour mark. Wilfred Zaha drove from midfield and fed Jonathan Kodjia on the right, the Aston Villa forward cut inside a released an unstoppable left footed shot to level the score. It was the first time that the Algerian backline had conceded a goal in Egypt.
There was no separating the two sides after 90 minutes pushing the match into extra time.
Ivory Coast almost ha the ball in the back of the net in the first half of extra time but a goalmouth scramble ended in former Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony shooting wide.
Wilfred Bony missed Ivory Coast’s third spot-kick handing the initiative to the Desert Foxes. Algeria would miss their final penalty but Ivory coast CaptainGeoffroy Serey Die missed his kick to give Algeria a 4-3 win.