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AFCON 2019: Algeria Through To Semis After Seeing Off Ivory Coast On Penalties

Algeria have qualified for the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after securing a 4-3 penalty win over Ivory Coast in the quarterfinal game played on Thursday.

Algeria have qualified for the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after securing a 4-3 penalty win over Ivory Coast in the quarterfinal game played on Thursday.

Veteran goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli was the hero for the Algerians after saving Wilfred Bony’s penalty kick. Although Youcef Belaili hit the post, a subsequent miss from Serey Die sent the Desert Foxes through.

Before the game, Algeria had not conceded any goal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and when Sofiane Feghoili put the North Africans in front in the 20th minute, it sent an early indication that the Desert Foxes did not want to lose the match.

The Ivoirians, however, levelled when Jonathan Kodjia was able to breach Algeria defence with a low ball after riding a challenge from Benlamri to blast a left-footed shot past M’Bolhi and into the bottom corner.

With the two teams tied at 1-1, the game stretched into extra time where Rais proved his experience keeping out Bony shot before Serey Die hit the post with the North Africans prevailing 4-3.

Algeria’s first clear-cut opportunity came in the 10th minute. Rais M’Bohli’s quick goal kick released Youcef Belaili to the by-line on the left-hand side and the playmaker whipped in a cross to the near post with his left foot but Ismail Bennacer could only direct his free header wide.

Five minutes later, Aisa Manfi passed to Sofiane Foghouli with the winger feeding Riyad Mahrez, who got the better of Ismail Traore down the right wing and fired a shot at goal from a tight angle but it was comfortably dealt with by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Sylan Ghoubou.

Youcef Atal came close in the 16 minutes. Bounedjah was fouled deliberately by Ibrahim Sangare but the referee played a good advantage as Benlamri drove into the area and curled a brilliant effort inches wide of the left-hand upright.

Ivory Coast had their first decent attempt moments later when Zaha fired in a free-kick towards the left-hand corner but it was well saved by Rais, who even managed to hold on to the ball at the first attempt.

Max Gradel then tested Rais twice in quick succession five minutes. First, the Algeria shot-stopper made a meal of dealing with Sangare’s effort when he fumbled but looked far more convincing in diving to his right to push Kanon’s long-range drive away from danger moments later.

Algeria eventually broke the deadlock in the 20th minute through ex-West Ham winger Sofiane Feghouli who focused his effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

The first five minutes of the second half saw plenty of drama. First, Algeria missed a golden opportunity to double their lead, with Bounedjah missing a penalty he took after being fouled by Sylvain Gbohouo.

Ivory Coast got an equalizer in the 62nd minute after Kodjia got ahead of the last defender to slot home Traore’s delivery.

Algeria came close to getting their second when Slimani’s free-kick forced a finger-tip save from Gbouhou at the near post in the final minutes.

Zaha should have put the game to bed in the 119th minute after some great interplay by Traore, but the Crystal Palace attacker blazed his effort wide of the target.

Adam Ounas had a glorious chance to win it for Algeria in stoppage time, but the ball got stuck between his feet as the game was forced to settle on penalties.

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